The MPF, Brazil’s equivalent of a public prosecutor, has lodged a civil action against the conservative news network Jovem Pan, accusing it of engaging in a “disinformation campaign,” airing content that “attacks democracy,” and calling for military intervention in the upcoming presidential election in 2022.
The measure would also mandate that some Jovem Pan channels broadcast programs produced by the government.
As part of the MPF’s legal action, Jovem Pan would be obligated to pay 13.4 million Brazilian reais (about $2.75 million) in “collective moral damages.” This sum, equal to 10% of the network’s assets, will help repair the damage inflicted on Brazilian society due to the network’s programming.
The conservative news network Jovem Pan was founded in 1944 and has since grown to become one of Brazil’s greatest radio networks. The move does not threaten the network’s authorization to air on local television.
Additionally, the MPF is seeking that the federal courts in Brazil order Jovem Pan to air messages with official content and information the Brazilian government supplies about the legitimacy of the country’s voting process.
A daily fine of almost $20,500 would be imposed for noncompliance. The legal team representing Jovem Pan has called the move a “hostage takeover” of the news network and claims MPF ignored employee testimony.
Concerned over the move, the Brazilian Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters (ABERT) released a statement calling it an extreme measure without precedent.
Brazil’s Superior Electoral Tribunal is investigating President Jair Bolsonaro and might rule that he cannot run for office again until 2030.
Brazil’s government has proposed a measure to control fake news and penalize its dissemination on social media.
Voting on the law is anticipated for the second part of this year. Police raids have been approved against Bolsonaro supporters, including MPs, comedians, content providers, and regular residents by self-proclaimed “anti-fake news” crusader Alexandre de Moraes.
Seven extensions of the investigation into suspected “anti-democratic digital militias” propagating fake news have been granted by Brazil’s highest court.