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Ailton Benedito: "The marking imposed by Twitter to the publication (of the Ministry of Health) may characterize illegal practice of censorship".
by Renata Araujo, Contributor
The MPF in Goiás opened a civil investigation against Twitter to investigate censorship of government posts by a private company. The social network marked as "misleading" information an official publication of the Ministry of Health (MS), made on January 12, which informed about forms of preventive treatment to worsen the health condition of patients infected with Covid-19.
By imposing a "tag" that prevented immediate viewing, Twitter points out that the MS publication "violated rules of misleading and potentially harmful information related to Covid-19." However, the social network maintained the post on the grounds that the content could be of public interest.
For the prosecutor Ailton Benedito, responsible for the Civil Inquiry, information about policies, programs, actions and health services aimed at tackling the Covid-19 pandemic should be widely informed by the government to society, by all available means, including the Internet, and it is not up to the platforms or application providers, by their own acts, to create obstacles of any kind to the flow of information. "The aforementioned marking imposed by Twitter to the publication may characterize illegal practice of censorship and greatly harm the provision of public utility information to patients and society in general," he points out. It is common to say that censorship comes only from the current government, but in fact the act of censorship is more related to the de facto power than to an elective office.
The episodes of censorship occur at different times in history and with different ideological groups, usually practiced by authoritarian or inquisitive groups that exercise power to prevent or censor a group of people.
Nobody doubts the absurd power over the circulation of information that big techs possess, nor their drive to dictate the way people should think and speak. In general, censorship is an action of disapproval and restriction of some content or a certain message, with or without removal of this content from public circulation, usually under the justification of protecting the interests of a group or individual.
The current justification is "hate speech". But this is just a way for progressives to silence their rivals, since real hate speech is very solid on Twitter's base, as denounced in a report published by Gazeta do Povo on Tuesday (19).
In the case of the #nãoespere campaign post, the MPF established via official letter a deadline of five days for Twitter to provide detailed explanations about the factual and legal grounds that allegedly led the social network to classify as "misleading" the aforementioned Ministry of Health publication, in addition to explaining the practical effects on the dissemination of the post, classified that way, among Twitter users.
For the Brazilian government's international affairs advisor, Filipe G. Martins: "If a nation is prevented from formulating its own health policy or communicating it to its population, it is evident that the exercise of its national sovereignty has been damaged and that it must react against the actor responsible for the damage or else suffer the most humiliating submission," he wrote on the Twitter profile @filgmartin last Saturday (17). We will follow closely the unfolding of this process, after all, for Carmem Lúcia, Minister of the Supreme Court: "shut up is already dead".
Tags: Censorship, COVID, marking imposed by twitter, big techs