Press organizations condemn censorship as Brazilian judge forces digital newspaper to remove content

By Isabela Fraga

In an injunction, a Brazilian judge from the city of Vitória, in the state of Espírito Santo, forced the digital newspaper Século Diário to take down five published stories -- three news reports and two editorials -- that mentioned a local prosecutor, reported the newspaper Jornal do Brasil. Several press organizations condemned the censorship, including the National Association of Newspapers (ANJ in Portuguese), reported the Brazilian Press Association.

According to Século Diário, Judge Ana Cláudia Rodrigues Soares' decision had to do with a lawsuit brought by prosecutor Marcelo Barbosa Zenkner. Aside from forcing the newspaper to remove published content from its website that mentioned the prosecutor, the judge's ruling also provided criteria for future material about Zenker, such as avoiding "the inclusion of pejorative adjectives and unfavorable opinions" about him.

In a statement released on Wednesday, July 11, ANJ said the judge's "recommendations" for future newspaper publications were serious and amounted to "unreasonable interference with the editorial autonomy that the press body constitutionally enjoys."

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.