Brazil’s Bolsonaro asks top court to unblock supporters’ profiles amid fake news probe

Brazil's Bolsonaro asks top court to unblock supporters' profiles amid fake news probe

FILE PHOTO: Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro looks on during a ceremony of lowering the national flag for the night, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at the Alvorada Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, July 24, 2020. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has challenged a Supreme Court order that blocked several of his supporters’ profiles on social networks amid an ongoing fake news investigation, the right-wing president said using his own social media accounts on Saturday evening.

The lawsuit, signed by the president and Brazil’s Solicitor General José Levi, says the ruling granted by Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes violates the constitutional rights of the owners of the accounts.

The blocking of the accounts was effective from Friday.

The Supreme Court suspended 16 accounts and 12 pages of digital influencers who defend Bolsonaro on social media, including politicians, businessmen and political activists with Twitter (TWTR.N) and Facebook (FB.O) accounts. None of the suspended accounts belongs to federal government employees or have an official connection with the federal government, while all belong to Bolsonaro supporters.

The solicitor general’s role is to argue the current government’s position on matters.

Moraes said his order to block the accounts sought to “interrupt hateful criminal speeches.”

According to the president’s claim — the text of which was published by Bolsonaro on his own social media accounts — he was challenging Moraes’ order “to ensure compliance with fundamental rights [including] the freedom of speech and freedom of expression…”

The president’s lawsuit calls for the immediate unblocking of the affected accounts, arguing blocking them “defies the Constitution.”

Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu in Brasília; Writing by Ana Mano; Editing by Daniel Wallis

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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