TSE participates in a debate about the fake news’ impact on the 2018 Elections

Debate sobre fake news no senado (2018)

This Wednesday (21st), the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) participated in a Session of Thematic Debates, at the Federal Senate’s Plenary, about the theme “Fake news and its impacts on the 2018 Elections.” Justice Tarcisio Vieira de Carvalho Neto and General Secretary to the Presidency, Carlos Eduardo Frazão, represented the Electoral Court at the event. The session of debates, presided by the Senate’s Vice-president, Cássio Cunha Lima, was held because of a request made by Senator Telmário Mota.

In his exposure, Justice Tarcisio Vieira presented a few of the TSE impressions on the topic. According to him, amongst the many challenges that the Electoral Justice will have to face this year, three need to be highlighted: the electoral financing, the printing of the vote and the spread of fake news. According to the magistrate, the Electoral Court has had a concern in debating the issue by using instruments that are within the Court’s reach, with the aim of comprehending and mitigating the phenomenon.

“In the elections’ context, the destructive power of the fake news is unquestionable. We already have an important material, in the legislation, for the acting of the Electoral Justice. The legislator made quite an intelligent option of dealing with this theme by promoting data,” the Justice evaluated. For him, it is important to fight fake news with the disclosure of authentic news, which should “always help the voters make mindful political choices.”

The General Secretary to the Presidency of the TSE, Carlos Eduardo Frazão, highlighted that the Court has been dwelling on the theme by having, moreover, steablished the Advisory Council about the Internet and the Elections, which has been debatting about the adoption of instruments in order to try to diminush the damaging effects of the fake news’ disclosure. According to him, the Electoral Court is attentive to the fact that fake news “harm the quality of the citizen’s vote, harm the formation of a concious vote by the voter.”

“A healthy and legitimate electoral process entails that people are well informed. The liberty of speech is a value on its own and is a supposition, indeed, for an effective democracy, for a true Lawful Democratic State,” he stated.

The president of the Associação Brasileira de Emissoras de Rádio e Televisão (Abert- Brazilian Association of Radio and Television Stations), Paulo Tonet Camargo, defended that the solution for fake news - that was already done in other countries, such as Germany - sums up to the word “responsibility”. “There is only one solution to the problem. If our means disclose fake news, we have a criminal and civil responsibility. Those who distribute the news, those who spread the news have to take responsibility,” he stressed.

Other people that participated in the debate were the president of the Social Communication Council of the Federal District, Murilo Aragão, the director of the branch office of the Folha de S. Paulo in Brasilia, Leandro Colon, the Attorney at law of the Federal District and Territories’ Department of Justice (MPDFT) and the president of the Instituto Brasileiro de Direito Digital (Brazilian Insitute of Digital Rights), Frederico Ceroy, the consultant of Digital Security, Daniel Nascimento, and the president of the Insitute for the Development of Journalism (Projor), Ângela Pimenta.