Content Regulation / Censorship, Defamation / Reputation, Political Expression
The Case of Sarawak Report and Malaysia Insider
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The Curitiba Civil Court granted an injunction to a Federal Marshall, Marcelo Moscardi Grillo, ordering the immediate removal of a blog by a journalist who accused him of engaging in illegal acts.
On February 11, 2016, the journalist Marcelo Auler published a blog accusing a Federal Marshall, Marcelo Moscardi Grillo, of ordering individuals in the Federal Police Headquarters in Curitiba to commit acts of questionable legality. Mr. Auler claimed that these acts were paid for by “secret” third parties and strongly implied that the “secret” third party was, in fact, Mr. Grillo.
In April 2016, Auler reported that Grillo was transferred to the police department responsible for overseeing “Operação Lava-Jato”, a major corruption investigation. Auler stated that Grillo’s replacement at Curitiba Federal Police Headquarters was seen by his previous colleagues in a much more favorable light. Auler also publicly queried Grillo about his actions.
In response, Grillo filed a lawsuit claiming indemnity and demanding the immediate removal of the blog. Grillo claimed that Auler lied and harmed his reputation.
On May 5, 2016, the Curitiba Civil Court granted Grillo a provisional injunction pending Auler’s defense.
The Court found that Auler’s blog contained serious accusations that harmed Grillo’s reputation. The Court emphasized that Auler had made the accusations on multiple occasions without providing evidence. The Court found that the blog was particularly damaging in light of Grillo’s position on the investigative committee on “Operação Lava-Jato.” The Court ordered the removal of the blog and also ordered Auler to refrain from republishing the allegations on pain of a penalty.
Decision Direction indicates whether the decision expands or contracts expression based on an analysis of the case.
The Court did not hear evidence from the journalist and silenced debate on an issue of public importance – the functioning of a high profile public official.
Global Perspective demonstrates how the court’s decision was influenced by standards from one or many regions.
Case significance refers to how influential the case is and how its significance changes over time.
Although not binding, this decision could set a dangerous precedent against the freedom of the press. The Court did not hear from the journalist, and assumed that the allegations made by the journalist were false.
A similar complaint was filed by another Federal Marshall, Érika Mialik Marena, who is also a member of the investigative committee on “Operação Lava-Jato.”
Let us know if you notice errors or if the case analysis needs revision.