Brazil | Bolsonaro blocks social media criticism and condemns Human Rights Watch

(Sao Paulo) The Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro denies his critics access to his accounts in the social networks.

Posted on Aug 19, 2021 at 3:51 pm

At least 176 accounts – the majority on Twitter – of journalists, MPs, influencers and other citizens as well as the media and NGOs have been blocked and therefore no longer have access to the president’s accounts, HRW said on its website. Side? ˅.

Jair Bolsonaro “wants to remove people and institutions that disagree with him from his social network accounts and make his social networks a place where only applause is accepted,” said Maria Laura Canineu, director of HRW in Brazil.

This gesture “is part of a strategy” […] aims to silence or marginalize those who criticize him, ”she adds.

The far-right president is very active on social media, which he uses not only to make announcements about government policy, but also to criticize his opponents and to interact with his supporters.

He has almost seven million on Twitter, 14 million on Facebook – where he broadcasts a live Thursday evening – and 18.6 million on Instagram.

Banning your critics from accessing, replying or commenting on your publications “prevents participation in public debates, violates freedom of expression and is discriminatory,” the NGO continues.

Journalists’ inability to ask questions or request information is also hampered by freedom of the press, according to HRW.

HRW conducted its investigation in April and June. All 176 accounts were suspended after making comments unfavorable to the government, their owners said.

The information page The Intercept Brasil, the page about the parliament Congresso em Foco, the review Antagonista, two portals of the large UOL information page and the NGOs Reporters Without Borders, Amnesty International or HRW are all on Twitter or Instagram.

The leading fact-checking site Aos Fatos has also been blocked on Twitter. Jair Bolsonaro has often complained that some of his publications have been removed from the networks because they spread false or incorrect information.

When asked during a virtual conference of the international press on the subject, the Minister of Communications, Fabio Faria, estimated on Wednesday that the blocking of subscribers was an individual right.

“Government social media is one thing […] and Jair Bolsonaro’s physical person is different, ”he said.

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