Brazil’s Bolsonaro hails Musk’s ‘courage’ over freedom of speech

Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro hailed Elon Musk at a rally in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, saying the billionaire has stood up for freedom of expression — which the previous president claims is in danger in his nation.

Musk, whose possession of social media platform X, previously Twitter, has provoked widespread controversy, “is a person who actually preserves freedom for all of us,” the far-right chief advised the rally on Rio’s famed Copacabana seashore.

Musk is underneath investigation in Brazil after he accused a Supreme Court docket justice this month of censoring social networks, calling him a “dictator” and vowing to disobey rulings to dam customers discovered to be spreading disinformation.

However Bolsonaro advised his 1000’s of supporters on the seashore Sunday that the billionaire “had the braveness to indicate, with some proof … the place our democracy was going, how a lot freedom now we have already misplaced.”

The 69-year-old additionally denounced a “dictatorship” in Brazil and referred to as on supporters to “proceed the combat” to defend freedom of expression.

The decide Musk focused, Alexandre de Moraes, has waged a campaign towards disinformation, particularly makes an attempt by far-right supporters of Bolsonaro to discredit Brazil’s voting system.

Brazilian authorities are investigating whether or not Bolsonaro plotted an tried coup to forestall his 2022 election opponent and present president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva from assuming workplace in January 2023.

On-line customers blocked by Moraes embrace figures like far-right ex-congressman Daniel Silveira, who was sentenced to 9 years in jail in 2022 on costs of main a motion to overthrow the Supreme Court docket.

Musk had vowed to reinstate blocked accounts on X, saying: “We’ll in all probability lose all income in Brazil and should shut down our workplace there” however “ideas matter greater than revenue.”

He has not adopted by on his threats, nevertheless, and the Brazilian workplace of X has mentioned it would adjust to court docket orders to dam customers spreading disinformation.

Moraes has responded to Musk’s assaults by ordering fines of 100,000 reais (round $20,000) a day for any blocked account that X reactivates.

Accusing Musk of “prison instrumentalization” of the platform, Moraes additionally positioned the Tesla and SpaceX boss underneath investigation for crimes together with conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

“The place are the large crowds cheering for petty tyrant @Alexandre de Voldemort and censorship in Brazil? There are none,” one X person wrote Sunday, responding to photographs of the rally.

“As a result of he’s towards the need of the individuals and, subsequently, democracy,” Musk wrote in reply.

Brazil is a part of a rising worldwide debate in regards to the limits of free speech on social media, the place some say a free-for-all method endangers democracy.

Bolsonaro’s Rio rally follows a Sao Paulo gathering of his supporters in February that researchers mentioned attracted round 185,000 individuals.

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