Judicial censorship: newspaper in Brazilian state of Paraná prohibited from publishing stories about judge under investigation

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  • August 29, 2013

By Isabela Fraga

A court in Paraná state, located in the south of Brazil, prohibited the newspaper Gazeta do Povo from publishing information about the ongoing investigations against the head judge of the State Supreme Court, appellate judge Clayton Camargo, in yet another case of judicial censorship in Brazil, reported the newspaper Zero Hora.

In addition to the ban, the court decision also determined that the Gazeta do Povo, the state’s largest newspaper in terms of ciruculation, must remove the articles already published about the case off the Internet, establishing a daily fine of $10,000 reais if the order is violated. According to Folha de S. Paulo, the injunction was asked for in July by Carmargo himself, suspected of influence-peddling and exchanging sentences for money and under investigation by the National Council of Justice (CNJ).

Judge Benjamin Acácio de Moura e Costa, author of the decision that put the ban in place, commented that the Gazeta’s reports about Camargo have a “degrading and personal” character, “transcending the need to inform,” reported O Globo.

The Gazeta denied these claims and stated to not have “any type of aggression towards the rights of [Camargo], mentioned in his capacity of a public official,” and that “the reports discussing the investigations serve to the wealth of information available on the history of Paraná.”

In a statement, the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism (Abraji) condemned the censsorship of Gazeta do Povo. “Censorship was banned by the Federal Constitution in 1988. It is especially worrisome that it be a member of the judiciary to take this measure and deprive society of right to information,” said the director of Abraji.

According to research from the Brazil’s National Newspaper Association, there were eleven episodes of judicial censorship in 2012. However, a timeline made ​​by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, compiled 16 cases in which the courts were used as instruments of censorship.

The judicial use of censorship is seen as the main type of violation for the liberty of expression in Brazil for international organizations such as the Inter-American Press Association and Freedom House. It also contributes to Brazil’s poor ranking in liberty of the press by Reporters Without Borders, ranked 108th out of 179 countries.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.