Two judges in the southern Brazilian state of Paraná ordered blogger Marcelo Auler to remove 10 articles from his website on the grounds that they offend police officers taking part in a federal investigation into corruption, Auler told the Committee to Protect Journalists.
The 10 articles in question, published between November 2015 and April 2016, all point to possible procedural irregularities in the so-called “car wash case,” a broad investigation into corruption that has seen dozens of politicians and business leaders indicted and jailed.
Two of the investigators named in Auler’s stories took him to a small claims court in the city of Curitiba asking for the maximum amount in damages, 35,200 Brazilian reals ($9,795), and demanding that he remove the stories, Auler told CPJ. The same lawyer represented the two officers and claimed the blogger’s reports defamed his clients, Auler added.
A judge in March ruled against the blogger and said he had denigrated the image of federal police investigator Erika Mialik Marena. He was ordered to remove two stories, according to court documents.
Another judge followed suit on May 5, and told Auler to take down stories that offended another investigator, Maurício Moscardi Grillo, according to press reports.
The second judge also prohibited Auler from publishing any future articles containing “content that could be interpreted as offensive to the officers,” according to court documents.
The judge did not ask to hear Auler’s defense before making his decision. The blogger’s lawyers have appealed the ruling, he told CPJ.
The measure amounts to censorship that is incompatible with the country’s constitution, the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalists said in a statement.