Brazil: Google blocks YouTube video criticizing a politician


Google is in hot water in Brazil over videos deemed slanderous.


Sean Gallup

SÃO PAULO, Brazil – The Brazilian unit of Google said Thursday it had obeyed a court order to remove a YouTube video attacking a candidate in Brazilian municipal elections after legal appeals were exhausted.

"We are profoundly disappointed to not have the opportunity of openly debating our arguments in the electoral justice system that the videos were legitimate manifestations of the freedom of expression and should continue (to be) available in Brazil," Fabio Coelho, director-general of Google in Brazil, said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

More from GlobalPost: Brazil judge orders arrest of Google senior executive over YouTube videos

A court in Brazil’s Mato Grosso do Sul state issued an arrest warrant for Coelho earlier this week when Google failed to obey an order to remove the video, which attacks a mayoral candidate, according to Reuters. Google said it complied with the order only after it ran out of appeal chances, as the company usually complies with local laws, but fights “diligently” to protect free speech.

A user who posted one of two controversial videos has now removed it and closed the account, reported ComputerWorld. Coelho said this shows “just what a chilling effect these episodes can have on free speech.”

Reuters also noted that earlier this month, the arrest of another senior Google executive, Edmundo Luiz Pinto Balthazar, was ordered by an electoral court in Brazil’s Paraiba state when the company refused to take down a similar YouTube video mocking a mayoral candidate there.