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Supreme Court grants extension for suspension of 1967 press law

(RSF/IFEX) - The Federal Supreme Court (STF) has made a "preliminary" decision to extend a suspension of 22 clauses - including 20 articles - of the draconian 9 February 1967 press law for another 30 days. The clauses at issue that allow prison sentences for offences of "defamation", "denigration" and "insult", were suspended for the first time for a period of six months, by the country's highest jurisdiction on 27 February 2008, because of their incompatibility with the principles of the 1988 democratic constitution.

On the basis of a call from the parliamentary deputy, Miro Teixeira, who proposed a draft federal law revoking the 1967 law inherited from the military regime, the STF had given itself six months to issue a "vote of merit" to definitively abolish the law's most repressive clauses. The judges failed to agree and the STF extended the suspension for six more months on 4 September 2008.

"The STF knows very well that the press law adopted by the military dictatorship is no longer appropriate. We hope that at the end of this extra month, it will give a favourable response to the request from the deputy, Miro Teixeira", Reporters Without Borders said.

"However, it is urgent that the Federal Congress should quickly vote for the revocation of the 1967 law which is still being used locally to obstruct the work of journalists. Brazil will have taken a historic step in getting rid of this wretched legacy", the worldwide press freedom organisation added.

Updates the alert on the suspension of the 1967 Press Law:
http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/91267

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