Brazil's Electoral Court Decides to Punish Mass Messaging in 2022 Elections

There is evidence that Bolsonaro spread fake news but court rejects revoking Bolsonaro's ticket


The Superior Electoral Court (TSE) concluded that evidence shows that an illicit scheme of spreading false news by Whatsapp in the 2018 election benefitted the president. The court decided, however, not to revoke Bolsonaro's ticket.

According to the TSE, it was not shown to be serious enough to remove the election winners. It is not possible to determine the effect that the scheme, revealed in October 2018 by Folha, had on the results in the polls.

However, Justice Alexandre de Moraes warned that candidates involved in the spread of lies in 2022 will be impeached: "[Those responsible] will go to jail for attacking elections and democracy."

Five of the seven justices said that the scheme had been proven to exist, and Moraes cited attacks by Bolsonaro supporters on Folha reporter Patrícia Campos Mello for revealing it.

In a parallel trial, the court ordered the impeachment of state deputy Fernando Francischini (PSL-PR) for publishing a video on the day of the election alleging that there had been fraud in the ballot boxes to harm Bolsonaro.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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