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US House Republicans Challenge Brazil’s Claims on X “Misinformation” Censorship

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For a moment, it wasn’t entirely clear why the US Congress (specifically the House Judiciary Committee) decided to step into the feud created by Brazil’s authorities and X owner Elon Musk.

Was it because X was breaking Brazilian law – as alleged by those authorities – or because Brazil was using X, a US company, to enforce censorship?

Now we have some answers. The short version is – House Republicans believe Brazil is abusing “misinformation” claims to clamp down on critics expressing their opinion on X.

The Committee has come out with an “interim staff report,” and the title really says it all, at least as far as this US legislative arm’s stance on the issue: “The Attack on Free Speech Abroad and the Biden Administration’s Silence: The Case of Brazil.”

We obtained a copy of the report for you here.

Ouch. The Committee’s report goes into the details of the ongoing public clash, where Musk first accused Brazil’s government of demanding censorship of prominent political and media figures without any explanation, in addition to gag orders imposed on X.

Looming large in the background of all this is Alexandre de Moraes, president of Brazil’s Superior Electoral Court and Supreme Federal Court justice. More pertinently, a noted political rival of former President Jair Bolsonaro, who last year lost an election and contested it on the grounds of irregularities and unfairness.

And then, the new authorities in Brazil set out to (continue) doing their damnedest to make sure Bolsonaro and his supporters are silenced and discredited on social platforms. (Any similarity to election controversy in another country may or may not be coincidental).

The US House Committee’s report provides some facts – it had access to 28 orders in Portuguese (originals) and English, and 23 more only in English, all issued by Moraes to X; plus, 37 orders from the Superior Electoral Court of Brazil.

The Committee’s report spelled the essence out like this: “The Brazilian government is currently trying to force X and other social media companies to censor over 300 accounts.”

And those include former President Bolsonaro’s, that belongs to Federal Senate member Marcos do Val, and journalist Paulo Figueiredo Filho. There are others, including more journalists, radio stations, and legal experts and former judges.

As the report noted – “Government-directed censorship is not a problem isolated only to authoritarian governments in faraway lands; it is happening here in the United States.”

And then, in case anyone missed the point being made here: “The Committee’s and Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government’s findings of the Biden Administration’s attacks on free speech reveal how the Biden Administration, like Brazil, has sought to silence their critics.”

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