Amid controversy over the deletion of accounts related to Donald Trump from digital platforms, President Jair Bolsonaro (without party) lamented on Tuesday (12) what he called “social media censorship”.
“My beloved press, you have never had so much freedom as in my government. You have never heard of my government that socially controls or democratizes the media,” said the President during a solemn ceremony in the Palácio do Planalto for the 160 year old Anniversary of Caixa. Federal Economic Commission.
“You have too much freedom to spare. I regret the closure, the censorship of social media. They are not competing with you, no. One stimulates the other.”
Bolsonaro is a critic of the trade press and has already labeled the media a villain and a liar.
He did not quote Trump in his speech, but his condemnation of “censorship” on social media comes amid an intense debate over tech companies’ decision to narrow the reach of accounts linked to the American leader.
The corporate action came after Trump urged a crowd on Jan. 6 to march to the U.S. Congress in Washington on the grounds – with no evidence – that the U.S. elections had been rigged.
Protesters invaded US law in a riot that clashed with security officials, leaving five dead. Members of the Democratic Party, which will return to power with the inauguration of Joe Biden on January 20 at the White House, are treating the episode as an attempted insurrection, which is why they are defending a second impeachment trial against Trump.
Last week, for example, Twitter permanently banned Trump’s social media account. The argument used by the company is that the profile carries the risk of “increased incitement to violence”. Other platforms followed. Facebook has suspended the Republican from its network until at least Biden has taken office.
The action by social media giants has sparked heavy complaints from conservative groups, including Bolsonaro supporters.
The President’s son, Deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro (PSL-SP), changed his profile picture on Twitter to a Republican photo in protest of the so-called authoritative act of the social network.
After the invasion of the American Congress, President Bolsonaro and Secretary of State Ernesto Araújo made sympathetic statements to Trump and his supporters. Bolsonaro said he was “affiliated with Trump” and that there had been “many reports of fraud” in the American election. He also stated that “we will have a worse problem than the United States” if Brazil fails to roll out the printed vote for 2022.
For his part, Ernesto posted messages on Twitter condemning the act but said it was necessary “to recognize that a large part of the American people feels attacked and betrayed by their political class and distrusts the electoral process”. The Chancellor also called the vandals “good citizens” and suggested “investigating whether infiltrated elements are involved in the episode”.
Trump’s suspension of social media is controversial and has raised questions even among Republican critics.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, for example, expressed concern about Twitter’s decision and said it was “problematic”. A spokesman for the German Führer stressed that the right to freedom of expression was “of fundamental importance”.