Brazil: legislators ask Justice to suspend Jair Bolsonaro’s social networks

The Senate commission investigating the management of the Brazilian government during the pandemic asked this Tuesday to the Supreme Court and the Attorney General’s Office suspend the accounts of President Jair Bolsonaro on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram until new notice. The situation is similar to what happened in the United States with former President Donald Trump, another denier of the pandemic. The request will be sent to the attorney general, Augusto Aras, and to the judge of the Supreme Federal Court, Alexandre de Moraes, who is investigating Bolsonaro in a megacause about fake news.

The suspension demand comes after the far-right president mentioned false information in a live broadcast that associates the coronavirus vaccine with AIDS. The video was later removed from Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. The streaming platform also decided to suspend Bolsonaro’s channel for a week.

The accusatory text, presented by Senator Randolfe Rodrigues, calls for “the precautionary suspension” of Bolsonaro’s access to his accounts from Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and Twitter “to avoid destruction of evidence”. In addition, it requires the bankruptcy of “telematic secrecy” so that Google, the owner of YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, provide information on the president’s accounts on their networks, where he has a total of more than 40 million followers.

“It is important to reiterate that the spread of false information and attacks on institutions are not limited to the personal opinion of Jair Bolsonaro. Upon assuming the presidency of the Republic, he assumed the responsibilities and attributions of the position he occupies, so his statements have the nature of official decisions, which strongly influence the population, “adds the document approved in the Senate.

Bolsonaro, a skeptic of distancing measures and antigens against the coronavirus, mentioned last Thursday the existence of false information about supposed official UK government reports “suggesting” that those fully vaccinated are developing the AIDS disease “much faster than anticipated”. The information should have been denied by the British authorities.

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The text approved this Tuesday also asks that the president “retract on the national chain”, denying the correlation between vaccination against the coronavirus and the development of AIDS, under penalty of a fine of 50 thousand reais (about nine thousand dollars) for each day of non-compliance. “We can no longer tolerate that type of behavior,” said Senator Rodrigues.

Faced with a delicate scenario for the Brazilian president, the political scientist Mauricio Santoro sees it unlikely that the request will succeed. “I am skeptical. If we are based on the Trump case, we would have to see something very serious, like the invasion of the Capitol, for something like this to happen,” said Santoro, alluding to the decision of Twitter and Facebook to exclude the former US president of their networks after the riots.

The president, a great adept of social networks, is often accused of spreading false news. In August, the Supreme Federal Court decided to investigate him for crimes of “slander” and “incitement to crime.” for reasons related to their questioning without evidence of the electronic voting system in Brazil, among others.

This Tuesday, the Parliamentary Investigation Commission held its last meeting after six months of work. There the senators approved the report that accuses President Jair Bolsonaro of nine crimes, including crimes against humanity, for his criticized management of the pandemic, which left more than 600 thousand dead in the country.

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