Supreme Court determines that Ricardo Melo can return as CEO of Brazilian Communications Company

Journalist Ricardo Melo will be reappointed to the post of CEO of the Brazilian Communications Company (EBC for its acronym in Portuguese) after being removed more than two weeks ago by the country’s interim president. On Thursday, June 2, judge of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) Dias Toffoli granted an injunction authorizing Melo to return to work.

Mentioning the legislation that establishes the guidelines for public broadcasting, Toffoli stressed that the work of the EBC is “truly essential public service” and said autonomy of the governing body of EBC should be ensured.

“There is a clear legislative intent to ensure autonomy to the Executive Board of EBC, including its Chief Executive Officer,” Toffoli said in his decision. According to the judge, the removal of the CEO from office could not take place because of the “arbitrary decision of the Presidency.”

The journalist, who had been appointed by then-president Dilma Rousseff on May 3 to a term of four years, was dismissed by acting President Michel Temer on the 17th of the same month after only holding office for less than two weeks.

Rousseff was suspended from the presidency following a May 12 Senate vote. She is now facing an impeachment trial. Temer, who served as Rousseff’s vice president and is from a more conservative party, took over the post.

Melo’s dismissal sparked protests on May 20 when EBC officials and news organizations held a rally to denounce what they considered censorship measures imposed by the interim government.

The recent decision from Toffoli was praised by the Board of Trustees of the EBC.

“In this time of unrest in the country, society’s right to a public communication system protected against undue intervention of government and the free market of taxes must be ensured,” the Board said in a statement.

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.