Supreme Court Decision in Brazil Regarding the Press Leaves Points Open, Say Experts

Live interviews and understanding of 'duty of care' are among the issues to be clarified

São Paulo

The Supreme Federal Court's decision allowing civil liability for the press in interviews with indications of falsehood uses expressions with broad meanings that still leave room for doubts about possible judgments, experts say.

Among the points that will require further clarification, according to them, is the duty of care that the media needs to have, as mentioned by the Supreme Court, and how circumstances such as live interviews will be handled.

The court approved a thesis on Wednesday (29) that provides for civil liability and eventual content removal for "provenly injurious, defamatory, slanderous, false information, and in relation to possible material and moral damages."

According to Victor Lehaly, a lawyer and researcher at PUC-Rio, the thesis will not resolve all cases precisely because of the lack of definition of what the duty of care would be and what would constitute "concrete indications of falsehood."

On the other hand, lawyer Alexandre Fidalgo believes that the decision threatens freedom of expression and goes against other decisions of the Supreme Court itself.

Lawyer André Perecmanis considers that the Supreme Court's decision is heading in the right direction and follows others from the court stating that freedom of expression, like any right, is not absolute.

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