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  • Judge Gilmar Mendes in a session of the Supreme Court in Brasilia, Brazil, April 20, 2016.

    Judge Gilmar Mendes in a session of the Supreme Court in Brasilia, Brazil, April 20, 2016. | Photo: EFE

Published 8 August 2019

"Freedoms of speech and press must be preserved so that the community benefits from the information."

Brazil's Federal Supreme Court Judge Gilmar Mendes Wednesday issued a ruling that prevents authorities from taking any action aimed at holding The Intercept journalist Glenn Greenwald responsible for leaking confidential information on the "Car Wash" case.

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"Despite speculation about how the journalist obtained the disclosed material, which is something even subject to a criminal investigation, freedoms of expression and press cannot be vilified by investigations directed against a journalist in the regular exercise of his profession," Judge Mendes stated.

On June 9, investigative media outlet The Intercept published conversations between former Judge Sergio Moro and state prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol, showing that they colluded against Workers' Party (PT) leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to prevent him from running in the 2018 presidential elections.

Following the release of the leaked info, Greenwald has been persecuted by the country's far-right politicians and officials have threatened to take imprison or deport him.

On July 11, the leftist party 'Sustainability Network' filed an action with the Federal Supreme Court to suspend any judicial or administrative action that could affect the rights of the U.S. journalist.

This protective action was a response to the fact that the Federal Police had previously asked the Financial Activities Control Board (COAF) for information on Greenwald's banking records to investigate alleged criminal activities.

In substantiating his decision, Judge Gilmar also said the journalist's performance deserves constitutional protection even if the content of his leaks impacts the interests of the government.

The recent history of constitutional democracies "has warned us that the clauses on freedom of expression and press must be preserved so that the community benefits from the information, although the exercise of these rights sometimes tends to stress circumstantial interests of governments and rulers."

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