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New York Times questions TSE resolution: “A man can now decide what can be said online in Brazil”

The New York Times newspaper published an article this Friday (21) questioning the decision of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) of this week that gave the court the power of the police to remove from the internet, without provocation by any party or the Public Ministry, content that has already been considered by most ministers as “known to be untrue” or “gravely decontextualized”.

“ By allowing a single person to decide what can be said online in the run-up to the high-stakes election to be held in October 100 October [segundo turno da eleição presidencial], Brazil has become a case in point. test in a growing global debate about how far we can go in the fight against ‘fake news’”, highlighted the American newspaper, in the text entitled “A man can now decide what can be said online in Brazil”.

The resolution approved by the TSE also authorizes the court to determine the “temporary suspension” of profiles or channels with “systematic production of disinformation”, which convey “false or decontextualized” information.

The standard provides for faster content removal. Once notified, the platform will have two hours to comply with the court order. If you exceed this period, you must pay a fine of R$ 100 thousand.

In the event of repeated non-compliance with this removal order, and if you consider that there is “severity in the misinformation”, the TSE may also determine the suspension of general access to the platform for a period of 24 hours, which may be renewed for the same period in the event of a new non-compliance.

“The decision sparked protests from supporters of right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, as well as concern from many experts in internet law and civil rights, who said it represents an expansion potentially dangerous and authoritarian power that could lead to abuses, with the censorship of legitimate points of view, and unbalance the presidential race”, added the New York Times, which cited the tumultuous relationship between Bolsonaro and the minister of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) and president of the TSE, Alexandre de Moraes, who in the constitutional court “ordered investigations into Bolsonaro and ma He went on to arrest some of the president’s supporters for what Moraes said were attacks on the country’s democratic institutions.”

“But in the process, Moraes has raised concerns that his efforts to protect the country’s democracy have actually eroded it”, the American newspaper pointed out.

One of the jurists interviewed by the New York Times, Carlos Affonso Souza, a professor of law at the University of Rio de Janeiro State (UERJ), told the newspaper that Thursday’s decision (20) “may go too far, depending on how” Moraes wields his power.

A text by Agence France-Presse, published on the website of the German magazine Der Spiegel, highlighted concerns of those responsible for platforms that “on the one hand, the two-hour period [para remoção de conteúdos] is too short, on the other hand, the process remains non-transparent and therefore susceptible to abuse.”

“According to the new rules, the TSE must determine ‘in a reasoned decision’ which co content must be removed. But it is not yet clear what content users submit to the court will be verified and according to what criteria. Companies fear that the president of the TSE will decide what to exclude”, pondered the text.

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