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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Brazil's Congresso em Foco news site acquitted of defamation after disclosing "supersalaries"



The Brazilian news website Congresso em Foco was acquitted of defamation in the first of one of many lawsuits brought against the site, which published a series of reports on the existence of salaries higher than the constitutional ceiling for politicians, authorities and civil servants in the executive, legislative and judiciary branches, reported the Forum for the Right to Access Public Information.

Ruitemberg Nunes Pereira, judge for the lawsuit brought by Monica Bentim Rosa, a Senate member who appears on the list published by Congresso em Foco, said in the ruling (read the full text here) that “the simple act of disclosing what a certain public servant makes does not cause moral damages,” and confirmed the public importance of divulging the names of those functionaries with "supersalaries."

The Union of Legislative Public Servants, 43 officials whose names were listed by the website as receiving salaries above the legal limit filed identical lawsuits for moral damages against the website. The lawsuits are an attempt to intimidate and raise costs for Congresso em Foco, as well as impede their reporting.

Nunes Pereira also will try nine other identical lawsuits against the website, and the judge hopes to join the other suits together, which could accelerate a positive outcome in this judicial offensive brought by the Union.

"Ruitemberg Nunes Pereira's decision is an important victory that corroborates Congresso em Foco's belief that it was only fulfilling its duty to disclose the names of Senate members with supersalaries," said the news website.



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