Brazil senators ask Supreme Court to bar Jair Bolsonaro from social media

  • The report finds Bolsonaro "deliberately exposed" Brazilians to "mass infection" in a disastrous attempt to reach herd immunity from the coronavirus.
The pandemic has claimed more than 600,000 lives in Brazil, second only to the United States.(Photo: Reuters)
The pandemic has claimed more than 600,000 lives in Brazil, second only to the United States.(Photo: Reuters)
Published on Oct 27, 2021 05:07 AM IST
Copy Link
AFP |

A Senate panel probing Brazil's pandemic response asked the Supreme Court on Tuesday to suspend President Jair Bolsonaro from social media, as it prepared to vote on a damning report accusing him of crimes against humanity.

The senators called for the far-right leader to be barred indefinitely from YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram after he falsely alleged Covid-19 vaccines were linked to AIDS.

"We can no longer tolerate this type of behavior," the lawmakers said in a court filing signed by the 11-member panel's deputy chair, opposition Senator Randolfe Rodrigues.

The request came as the Senate commission, which has spent the past six months investigating the government's pandemic response, prepared to vote on a damning final report that recommends the president face nine criminal charges, including crimes against humanity, for downplaying Covid-19 and flouting expert advice on containing it.

The report finds Bolsonaro "deliberately exposed" Brazilians to "mass infection" in a disastrous attempt to reach herd immunity from the coronavirus.

The committee does not have the power to bring charges itself, and it is unlikely the attorney general or lower-house speaker -- both Bolsonaro allies -- will open criminal or impeachment proceedings.

But the report adds to the damage as Bolsonaro reels from his lowest-ever approval ratings, heading into an election in one year's time that polls place him on track to lose to leftist ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

The committee hearings, broadcast live, have featured emotional witness statements and chilling revelations about the use of ineffective medication on "human guinea pigs."

The pandemic has claimed more than 600,000 lives in Brazil, second only to the United States.

- Debunked AIDS claim -

 

The senators' court filing called for the authorities to lift the data confidentiality on Bolsonaro's social media accounts and order Facebook and Twitter, as well as YouTube owner Google, to provide normally secret information on the president's usage.

The document also called on the high court to order Bolsonaro to make a retraction in a nationally televised address, "refuting any correlation between vaccination against the coronavirus and developing AIDS," or face a fine of 50,000 reais ($9,000) for every day he fails to comply.

Bolsonaro made the controversial claim Thursday in his weekly social media live address.

He said "official reports" from the British government -- which has debunked the claim -- "suggest that people who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 are developing Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome much faster than expected."

Facebook removed the video for violating its policies on spreading misinformation. YouTube went a step further Monday, suspending Bolsonaro for a week, in addition to blocking the clip.

The British government denied the existence of any such reports in response to an AFP fact-checking team.

- 'I don't want to lose Facebook' -

 

Bolsonaro appeared to have taken the information from a supposed news story spreading online.

"I recommend you read the article," he said in his video, without saying where the information came from.

"I'm not going to read it here, because I don't want to lose my Facebook live video."

Like former US president Donald Trump, his political role model, Bolsonaro relies heavily on social media to rally his base.

Bolsonaro has had social media posts deleted numerous times in the past for spreading misinformation and inciting people to violate social distancing policies.

However, this is the first time Facebook has taken down one of his weekly live videos, a cornerstone of his communications.

The president, who took office in January 2019, has said he does not plan to be vaccinated against Covid-19, and joked in the past the vaccine could "turn you into an alligator."

 

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • French President Emmanuel Macron 

    On bid to cut oil prices, what Macron has been told by UAE, Saudi

    Two top OPEC oil producers, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, can barely increase oil production, French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday said he had been told by the UAE's president. Read: France holds parliamentary election in vital test for Macron "And then he said (the) Saudis can increase by 150 (thousands barrels per day). Maybe a little bit more, but they don't have huge capacities before six months' time," Macron said.

  • Police block the scene where a semitrailer with multiple dead bodies was discovered, Monday, June 27, 2022, in San Antonio.

    At least 40 migrants found dead in truck in US city: Report

    At least 40 people have been found dead inside a tractor-trailer in San Antonio, Texas, news agencies reported citing law enforcement official briefed on the matter. San Antonio's KSAT television reported 42 people dead inside the truck, in a presumed migrant smuggling attempt in South Texas. San Antonio police is yet to make an official statement on the incident. Mexican foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard said in a tweet that the victims' nationalities were still unknown.

  • In many European countries, monkeypox cases are rising,

    More than 3,400 monkeypox cases reported to WHO globally: 5 things to know

    The World Health Organization has confirmed over 3,400 reported cases of monkeypox and one related death globally as of last Wednesday, with majority of them from Europe. In an update on Monday, the WHO said that 1,310 new cases were reported to the UN health agency since June 17, with eight new countries reporting monkeypox cases. 5 things to know about monkeypox: Monkeypox is a large DNA virus belonging to the orthopoxvirus family.

  • People watch as smoke bellows after a Russian missile strike hit a crowded shopping mall, in Kremenchuk, Ukraine.

     G7 vows to keep pressure on Russia after missiles strike Ukraine shopping mall

    Russian missiles struck a crowded shopping mall in central Ukraine on Monday, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said, as Moscow fought for control of a key eastern city and Western leaders promised to support Kyiv in the war "as long as it takes". More than 1,000 people were inside when two Russian missiles slammed into the mall in the city of Kremenchuk, southeast of Kyiv, Zelenskiy wrote on Telegram. He said the death count could rise.

  • File photo of former President Donald Trump.

    Company buying Trump's social media app faces subpoenas

    The company planning to buy Donald Trump's new social media business has disclosed a federal grand jury investigation that it says could impede or even prevent its acquisition of the Truth Social app. Shares of Digital World Acquisition Corp. dropped almost 10% Monday as the company revealed that it has received subpoenas from a grand jury in New York. The new probe could make it more difficult for Trump to finance his social media company.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Tuesday, June 28, 2022