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Multisectoral Panel broadens mobilization to fight fake news

The head of the National Council of Justice (CNJ) and the  Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (STF), Chief Justice Dias Toffoli, launched, along with other agencies and institutions, the Multisectoral Panel on Information Check and Fighting Fake News on Tuesday (June 18). The main objective of the panel is to raise public awareness and to inform society about the damages caused by misinformation and the importance of verifying the truthfulness of the news received. "Confronting fake news is everyone's job. Although the initial emphasis is on the fake news produced about the Judiciary, the project is the starting point for a broad social mobilization, "said the Justice.

The initiative brings together bodies of the Brazilian Judiciary Branch, the functions essential to Justice - the Federal Attorney General's Office, the Public Defender's Office and the Federal Council of the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB) -, magistrates’ associations and representatives of the Brazilian media and civil society, legal portals and fact checking portals. The Panel will be initially focused on contents and decisions by the CNJ, STF, Superior Court of Justice (STJ) and Federal Justice Council (CJF), extending, later, to other courts.

According to Chief Justice Toffoli, the mobilization began with the #FakeNewsNão campaign (#NoFakeNews), led by the National Council of Justice in partnership with higher courts and judiciary's entities. "The panel is the result of the voluntary engagement of several entities with the campaign. All the members contribute to the project within their own area of expertise and with tools they already have, respecting the specifics and the editorial line of each media outlet", he said during his speech at the panel's launch ceremony.

The Chief Justice also highlighted the plurality of the members of the Panel and other representatives as a symbol for the defense of Democracy, the Democratic Rule of Law and the country's own sovereignty. "They are entities committed to the democracy, freedom of expression, freedom of information and of the press, which have united efforts for the benefit of truth and reliable information", said Toffoli.

The internet and social networks' technological tools have been mentioned as causes for the exponential expansion of fake news, affecting several areas such as public health, when it interferes with the targets of vaccination campaigns, for example; and in election campaigns, with misleading information that confuses voters. Therefore, according to the president of the CNJ, it is necessary to "prioritize the truth and the production, dissemination and sharing of reliable information, through the conscious and ethical use of new technologies". Society's education and awareness, according to him, must be the main tool to confront the fake News.

As for the impact of fake news on the Judiciary branch, Toffoli listed serious consequences not only because it misinforms about the content of its decisions, putting society at risk, but also it affects its credibility as an institution.

Partners

The search for the truth and reliable coverage of facts motivated the initiative, as stated by the Panel's partners. The JusBrasil website, the Brazilian Association of Radio and Television (Abratel), the Association of Brazilian Magistrates (AMB), the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB) and the Superior Court of Justice (STJ) spoke up during the panel's launch ceremony.

According to JusBrasil's founder, Luiz Paulo Pinho, everyone may fall prey to fake news, but "the truth is more important than individual interests." Abratel's president, Márcio Novaes, said that there are positive results alongside responsible and quality journalism. "We have a set of laws to protect society, such as the right of reply, the fight against slander and defamation, for example. However, with this initiative, we show concern about the effects of fake news and chart a path of responsibility and accountability, "he said.

AMB's president, Jayme de Oliveira, stressed that a network is being created to work together against misinformation and fake news. The OAB’s president, Felipe Santa Cruz, stated that the entity defends freedom of expression by proposing a real-time monitoring system that points out who manipulates the information used to weaken the Democracy and its process.

For the STJ and Federal Justice Council's (CJF) president, João Otávio de Noronha, the commitment to the truth is important to keep the social peace and harmony, so that Brazil "can be the country of unedited truth, of the facts without photoshop". "What we want is for the truth to be a north to be sought by all so that we can achieve justice," he said.

Multisectoral Panel

On the Panel's page on the CNJ's website, it is possible to follow the work developed, including the campaign on the networks: #FakeNewsNão (#NoFakeNews). The CNJ also encourages the population to denounce false publications. The CNJ as well as the superior courts will assist the partners in identifying and sending suspicious material for checking.

The checking of suspicious content and posts will be carried out by communication companies such as: Boatos.Org; Conjur; Jota; Migalhas e UOL-Confere. The Panel's intention is to encourage the participation of the largest possible number of entities, institutions and communication vehicles. The CNJ's Portal will make available to the citizens all the analysed content.

These are the partners involved with the Multisector Panel: CNJ; STF; Superior Court of Justice (STJ); Federal Court; Superior Electoral Court (TSE); Superior Labor Court (TST); Superior Military Court (STM); Federal Public Defender's Office (DPU); Federal Attorney General's Office (AGU); Association of Brazilian Magistrates (AMB); Association of Federal Judges of Brazil (AJUFE); National Association of Magistrates (Anamatra); Brazilian Press Association (ABI); Brazilian Association of Radio and Television (Abratel); National Association of Newspapers (ANJ); Brazilian Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters (Abert); Brazilian Bar Association (OAB), Aos Fatos; Boatos.Org; Conjur; Jota; Migalhas; UOL-Confere; and Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV), among others.

Source: CNJ

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