Leaked secret audio recordings of Brazil’s most powerful figures have sparked a series of explosive scandals in the nation’s ongoing political crisis. Now, Brazilian lawmakers are trying to outlaw publication of such recordings.
A bill, which has been idling since last year in the Câmara dos Deputados, Brazil’s lower house of Congress, has picked up new steam this month. The proposed legislation seeks to criminalize the “filming, photographing or capturing of a person’s voice, without authorization or lawful ends,” punishable by up to two years imprisonment and a fine. If the recording is published on social media, the penalty rises to four to six years.
When it was originally introduced, the bill was criticized as one of many proposed draconian measures designed to protect politicians and a direct threat to freedom of expression and the press.
The anti-recording bill was introduced in 2015 by Deputado Veneziano Vital do Rêgo, of interim President Michel Temer’s increasingly right-leaning PMDB party. Rêgo, who voted for the impeachment of now suspended Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, has reason to fear being secretly taped: he is a suspect in 35 pending investigations for various financial and administrative crimes, as of April, according to Transparência Brasil, a leading anti-corruption watchdog, and the fact-checking website Agência Lupa.
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As Brasília’s Corruption is Exposed, Lawmakers Try to Criminalize Dissent