Brazil high court rules press censorship law unconstitutional

[JURIST] The Brazilian Supreme Court [official website, in Portuguese] on Thursday overturned a law restricting the press [press release, in Portuguese] as unconstitutional. The court ruled 7-4 that the Press Law [Law No. 5250/67 text, in Portuguese], which was enacted in 1967 and allowed for censorship of news media, books, and other forms of communication, is incompatible with the Brazilian Constitution [text, in Portuguese]. The law was enacted while the country was under military rule [AP report] but has not been regularly enforced since the country returned to democratic rule in 1988. Thursday's ruling completely repealed [Consultor Juridico report, in Portuguese] the law.

Although Brazil is South America's largest media market, in 2007, the International Press Institute [advocacy website] called Brazil [text] "one of the most dangerous countries in the Western Hemisphere in which to practice journalism" because of the threats and violence facing investigative reporters. In 2006, Reporters Without Borders [advocacy website] said that local media in Brazil experiences less press freedom [RWB report] than national media because of an "unacceptable degree of violence as well as harassment and abuse of power by local officials."



 

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