The Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives accuses Judge De Moraes of censoring critics in X in Brazil

The commission chaired by Jim Jordan makes public the documents in which the judge demanded the suspension of the social network's accounts in Brazil.

The House Judiciary Committee has released a report in which it accuses the Government of Lula da Silva, and especially the president of the Superior Electoral Court of Brazil, Alexandre de Moraes, of censorship on X. In a document of more than 500 pages, legislators include the judicial documents through which the judge requested a permanent suspension of the accounts of more than 150 elected officials and journalists.

De Moraes "attacked critics from the right and left with impunity"

The commission obtained the documents through an official request to the social network, the company reported on April 15, noting that it was obligated "under US law" to deliver the papers to Congress. The commission justified its demand to obtain the papers in its crusade against the censorship promoted by the Government during the covid pandemic to silence critics and hide sensitive information about Hunter Biden. The report notes that executives in Canada, France and Brazil have initiated network censorship programs that are even more serious for freedom of expression than those carried out by the Biden Administration.

The Committee denounced that the Supreme Court of Brazil "gave itself new powers to act as an investigator, prosecutor and judge at the same time in some cases" in 2019. According to the legislators:

With this extraordinary new power, Moraes attacked right-wing and left-wing critics with impunity. According to reports, Moraes ordered social media platforms to remove posts and accounts even when "much of the content did not violate [the companies'] rules" and "often without giving a reason." As another example, he ordered federal agents to raid eight businessmen in July 2019, in addition to freezing their bank accounts and suspending their social media accounts. Previously, Moraes had "ordered a federal police raid on 10 addresses linked to social media users who had criticized the court." After Moraes ordered a Brazilian magazine to remove an article published online alleging links between Toffoli [Chief Justice of Brazil's Supreme Court] and a corruption investigation, then-Judge Marco Aurélio Mello noted, "I have been on the Court for 28 years and I have never seen a decision like this, to remove an article," adding, "The Supreme Court has always been committed to preserving freedom of expression. This is a step backwards.

Musk and Shellenberger accuse De Moraes of "electoral interference"

Michael Shellenberger, the journalist who publicly denounced what is known as the Brazilian X papers revealed that "De Moraes demanded these prohibitions in secret processes, without explanations or avenues of appeal, and through social media platforms." Something that "given the dependence of elected leaders on social networks, these bans can constitute electoral interference." A note shared by the owner of X, Elon Musk, who denounced that the judge "absolutely interfered with the Brazilian elections."

Brazil's unique censorship model

Shellenberger also pointed out the characteristic that makes censorship unique in Brazil: "Brazil's Censorship Industrial Complex is located in the judicial branch and not in the executive." According to the journalist, in the rest of the world it is the governments, normally through agencies or committees, who exercise this function, in collaboration with the RRSS or exert pressure on them. "However, in others aspects, Brazil's censorship simply reflects the most advanced form of vision of the Censorship Industrial Complex created by US government officials. and the United Kingdom, particularly those working for military and intelligence agencies," Shellenberger added.