Jair Bolsonaro, President of Brazil

On Thursday, the president of the Brazilian Senate returned to the Government a controversial provisional measure signed by the head of state, which limited the elimination of content published on social networks, imposing a defeat on Jair Bolsonaro.

Rodrigo Pacheco, who in addition to the Senate also presides over the Congress of Brazil, announced in plenary the return to the Executive of the provisional measure, alleging, among other reasons, “legal uncertainty” and abusive exercise of the Government.

Pacheco referred to the internal regulations of the Federal Senate, which states that it is up to the president of the Senate to “challenge propositions that seem contrary to the Constitution or the laws”.

“There are situations in which the mere issue of a provisional measure is enough to achieve the functionality of the legislative activity of the National Congress and the Brazilian legal system”, pointed out Pacheco, in a session at the Brazilian Senate.

Also according to the president of Congress, who was elected to the position in February this year, with the support of the current government, the measure in question has provisions that affect the electoral process and affect the use of social networks.

With Pacheco’s decision, the rules provided for in the measure are no longer in force and will not be analyzed by the National Congress.

Bolsonaro’s defeat was double, as judge Rosa Weber, of the Federal Supreme Court (STF), suspended the measure in its entirety early on Thursday. The decision was taken on a provisional basis and will still be analyzed by the plenary of the court.

At issue is an interim measure signed by Bolsonaro last week, which established rules for the use and moderation of social networks and limited the elimination of published content, and which was harshly criticized by several parliamentarians, who accused the President of giving a “free pass to spread lies and disinformation”.

The measure, published in the Diário Oficial da União, altered the Marco Civil da Internet, a law that regulates the use of the network in Brazil, and made it difficult for social networks to delete content from their users.

One of the most controversial points of the text was the need to always have “just cause” and “motivation” in cases of “cancellation or suspension of account features or profiles maintained by social network users”.

The measure was signed by the head of state at a time when his far-right supporters have been the target of removals on social networks on charges of propagating false content.

Hours before the Senate returned the text to the Government, Jair Bolsonaro downplayed the ‘fake news’ [notícias falsas] and affirmed that they are part of citizens’ lives.

“The ‘fake news’ is part of our life. Who hasn’t told a little lie to his girlfriend? If not, the night doesn’t end well. The ‘fake news’ dies by itself, it doesn’t go forward” said Bolsonaro at a ceremony in Brasília, in the presence of the presidents of the Chamber of Deputies, Arthur Lira, and of the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco, as well as judge José Dias Toffoli, one of the eleven judges of the STF.

On Monday, the Attorney General of the Republic of Brazil, Augusto Aras, had already defended before the STF the suspension of this provisional measure, considering that it hindered “the action of barriers” that prevent the dissemination of criminal content and hate speech .

According to the G1 news portal, this is only the fifth time since the country’s redemocratization that the National Congress has returned a provisional measure to the Presidency of the Republic of Brazil.

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