Brazil’s Supreme Court has suspended Telegram, hitting Bolsonar

The 3D printed Telegram logo is located on the computer motherboard in this illustration made on January 21, 2021. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration

March 19, 2022

Ricardo Brit and Lysandro Paraguas

BRAZIL (Reuters) – Brazilian Supreme Court Judge Alexandre de Moraes on Friday ordered a halt to Telegram’s messaging program, saying it had repeatedly refused to comply with court orders to freeze disinformation accounts or comply with the country’s law. The ruling was seen by Reuters.

In response, the founder and CEO of Telegram Pavel Durov apologized for the “negligence” of the company and asked the court to postpone the decision for a few days to improve its implementation.

Moraes ’decision, which is likely to ignite a debate on freedom of speech in politically polarized Brazil, is the final chapter in the battle of crucifixion with far-right President Jair Balsanaro and his allies.

The president and his supporters have increasingly relied on the Telegram as a form of mass communication, as major technology companies such as Meta, which owns WhatsApp, Google and Twitter from Alphabet Inc, followed Supreme Court orders to shut down accounts that allegedly spread misinformation. . .

Moraes has led a series of Supreme Court investigations into Bolsonar and his supporters for spreading false news that has angered many right-wingers – and raised questions about the excessiveness of the trial.

According to Moraes’ ruling, Telegram has repeatedly blocked infringing accounts and ignored court rulings.

Durau, the founder of Telegram, blamed his company’s shortcomings on the email problem, saying “we could definitely do better.” Writing in a personal account in the Telegram, Durov asked the court to postpone the decision.

“I am confident that once a reliable communication channel is established, we will be able to effectively process requests to remove public channels that are illegal in Brazil,” he wrote.

Moraes has given Wilson Diniz Velis, head of telecommunications regulator Anatel, 24 hours to enforce the suspension, which will remain in effect until Telegram enforces outstanding court rulings, pays a number of fines and brings a country representative to court.

Moraes also ordered Apple and Google to help block users on their platforms from using Telegram in Brazil. Both Apple and Google declined to comment.

Anatel said it had “forwarded the judgment to entities operating in the regulated sector”.

Moraes’ decision quickly faced official opposition.

In his Twitter account, Justice Minister Anderson Torres criticized Moraes’ “monocratic” decision, which he said had “harmed millions of Brazilians”. Torres said he had instructed his ministry to “study the solution to restore people’s right to use any social network they wish.”

The president’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Telegram has proved popular with far-right groups around the world.

In Germany, where local media reported that police blocked 64 Telegram channels in February, the app is accused of fueling a growing subculture of conspiracy theorists against vaccines that share news of alleged dangers and stage protests that have escalated into violence. .

In January, Bolsonara accused the country’s top electorate of “cowardice” for considering banning the messaging program amid fears of using it to spread “fake news.”

(Report by Ricardo Britt, Lisandro Paraguas, Peter Frantini and Pedro Fanseca; author Gabriel Stargardter; edited by Stephen Eisenhammer, Jonathan Oatis, Diana Kraft and Leslie Adler)

Brazil’s Supreme Court has suspended Telegram, hitting Bolsonar

Source link Brazil’s Supreme Court has suspended Telegram, hitting Bolsonar

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