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Google Brazil president faces arrest order

27 september 2012, 10:23
President of Google Brazil Fabio Jose Silva Coelho. Photo courtesy of midiamax.com
President of Google Brazil Fabio Jose Silva Coelho. Photo courtesy of midiamax.com
An arrest order has been issued against Google Brazil's president over his refusal to remove YouTube videos that "slander" a mayoral candidate, AFP reports citing judicial authorities.

An electoral court said Fabio Jose Silva Coelho committed the crime of "disobedience" by not removing two videos that "slander, insult and defame" Campo Grande candidate Alcides Bernal.

The videos accuse the candidate of "instigating abortion, drunkenness, physical injury of a minor, illicit enrichment, and contempt as well as prejudice against the underprivileged," according to the indictment.

The tribunal, in the southwestern state of Mato Grosso do Sul, also asked Google to block YouTube in the town of Campo Grande, or the entire state, for 24 hours.

The first round of municipal elections in more than 5,000 Brazilian cities is scheduled for October 7.

The arrest warrant against the Google Brazil president was issued last week by Regional Electoral Tribunal judge Flavio Saad Peren, and another judge rejected an appeal by Google this week.

Google denied the videos were negative campaign ads and a spokesman for the Internet giant said the company was not responsible for the content posted on YouTube.

Bernal told the G1 news portal that the content of the videos were "a lie" and that "justice is upholding the right of every citizen to have his privacy, honor and honesty guaranteed".

Mato Grosso do Sul federal police said they received the arrest warrant and forwarded it to their colleagues in Sao Paulo, where Silva Coelho lives.

But Sao Paulo police said that they have yet to receive the warrant.

Google is facing similar problems over other election campaign videos posted on YouTube.

The business daily Valor reported that Google failed to comply with another order from the electoral court of Mato Grosso do Sul to yank a video that offends Gerson Garcia, the mayoral candidate in the town of Nioaque.

Ten days ago, an electoral judge in the northeast state of Paraiba took similar action against Edmundo Balthazar, a Google director in Brazil, for failing to comply with an order to remove from YouTube a video in which a mayoral candidate was described as "a donkey".

Google appealed the decision and the court decided that Balthazar could not be held responsible for the video content. The jail sentence was suspended.

In August, judicial authorities in the southern state of Santa Catarina also demanded a 24-hour suspension of Facebook over its refusal to remove a page attacking a town councillor running for re-election in next month's polls.

Facebook finally reached a deal with the authorities to escape punishment or a daily fine of $25,000 in case of non-compliance.

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