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  • President Jair Bolsonaro attends a promotion ceremony for generals in Brasilia, Brazil, Dec. 9, 2019.

    President Jair Bolsonaro attends a promotion ceremony for generals in Brasilia, Brazil, Dec. 9, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 10 December 2019
Opinion

The complaint lists government acts that show programmatic, intentional, and articulated actions to restrict freedom of expression in Brazil.

Brazilian lawmakers of the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL), the Workers' Party (PT), Democratic Labor Party (PDT), and the Communist Party (PCdoB) denounced the government of Jair Bolsonaro to the United Nations (UN) for censorship of arts and culture in their country.

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The complaint lists a series of government acts that show "programmatic, intentional, and articulated actions to restrict freedom of expression" in Brazil.

Among them was the prohibition of using the words "coup d'etat" at media coverage of the 55th anniversary of the beginning of the military dictatorship.

Journalists from public outlets also denounced censorship of images of Marielle Franco, the socialist councilor and human rights defender who was murdered in Rio de Janeiro in 2018. The images of the protest musician Arnaldo Antunes were also banned on state-owned media.

The complaint also refers to the case of the former director of the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), Ricardo Galvao, who was fired after criticizing Bolsonaro's statements about the unreliable data on the Amazon deforestation.

Lawmakers also denounced the appointment of Sergio Camargo as president of the Palmares Cultural Foundation, which is the institution responsible for the valorization of black culture in Brazil.

Besides publicly denying the existence of racism in his country, this official previously stated that slavery would have been beneficial for the African descent people.

In the Special Secretariat of Culture (SEC), there have been also expressions of ideological censorship after the appointment of Roberto Alvim, who "not only intensified persecution against artists and cultural agents of a different political spectrum but also established a monitoring regime in the SEC-linked institutions."

Finally, in the complaint filed by the Brazilian lawmakers, a collection of Bolsonaro's statements are compiled.

In one of them, the far-right politician mentions that government-sponsored cultural activities should converge with the "Judeo-Christian tradition", which constitutes a clear affront to Brazil's secular state.

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