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Media group prevented from publishing information about Senate candidate

(ABRAJI/IFEX) - The court of Mato Grosso, in midwestern Brazil, has granted a preliminary injunction prohibiting the Gazeta Comunicação Group from publishing material on a television program and in the newspaper "A Gazeta" that it deemed "negative" or "indicating" that the congressman and Senate candidate, Carlos Abicalil of the Workers' Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores, PT, the same party as President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva), is in favor of abortion.

The preliminary injunction was granted after the newspaper published a story on an appeal that was signed by 67 members of Congress, including Abicalil, to hold a debate in a plenary session on draft law to decriminalise abortion. This material was later used as part of the election campaign of Antero Paes de Barros Neto of the opposition Brazilian Social Democratic Party (Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira, PSDB), who is running for a Senate position.

"This is another case of censorship. It is a violence against information", says Joao Dorileo Leal, owner of the Gazeta Comunicação. He believes that the preliminary injunction is also a form of economic repression because it set a fine of US$54,000 per issue that desrespect the resolution. According to Leal, the group appealed the injunction as soon as it was notified of the decision.

Besides the injunction, there was also a request for search and seizure. "The newspaper received a visit from a police officer, but no electoral material was found", says Leal.

According to the Mato Grosso Regional Electoral Court (TRE) judge Lídio Modesto da Silva Filho, who granted the preliminary injunction, the case cannot be considered censorship. "There was a representation by Carlos Abicalil saying that the group had published lies about him", says Lídio Modesto.

According to Abicalil's press office, the newspaper and the TV channel are prohibited only from "lying". "The congressman signed the request to debate the proposed law in Congress but he has never voted in favor of abortion".

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