Freedom of expression or exploitation?


Adilson Roberto Gonçalves

When big techs complain about the bill to regulate the internet it is not because there will be censorship, but, yes, decrease in their profits. Many people are talking and writing about the manipulation of Google's search, but it is good to clarify that advertisements come first in the results, driven by those who finance the monetization of the network. That is, there is no point in fighting against big tech and want to earn money with your Youtube channel. Moreover, the lie that had a short leg now has a quick gain. I started dealing with this issue in the previous article "Technology and Internet Regulation" (, taking the opportunity to correct the beginning of the last paragraph to "... the opinions of those who proclaim...".

There are libels spread by the so-called serious press in which they call for unlimited freedom of expression, claiming that this is what is in our Federal Constitution (Brazil). Reading one of these opinion articles made me consult in detail what is in the constitutional text. There it is omitted that the cited device against censorship is in the chapter "On social communication", which deals with the ways in which freedom of thought is practiced, especially in the news media. In the total reading of the five articles that compose it, this becomes very clear. In any case, the freedom to say what one thinks is restricted to when it conflicts with the law, even if infra-constitutional. Thus, as damaging as I consider the omnipresence of a lawyer who prevents me from appearing before a judge without one, even if he has the competence to represent me, it does not allow me to advocate the end of such a profession. And it is not a question of being afraid to speak my mind, but rather of being fully aware that life takes place in society, with various other selves to be respected.

Opinion or news?

The press still has difficulty understanding what is opinion and what is news, including its limits. The ombudsman of Folha de S. Paulo even spoke about this, when the title about the death of Rita Lee was changed to include the link to drugs, and much criticized because those who made the report had not given this emphasis. It was there revealed what everyone should know: the story and its title do not belong to the journalist, but to the editor, his superior. This is different from opinion pieces, which are the exclusive responsibility of their author. But even so, it can be altered according to the rules of the editorial office, like the letters that are published in the still existing sections of printed newspapers. Would that be censorship?

Changing the texts

Changing the texts of books is indeed a form of censorship or curtailment of freedom of expression. Besides the cultural mutilation, denounced in several editorials that say that there will be a "limited literature", the alteration and ban of old books, due to racist and prejudiced expressions, will lead to a heavy ideological falsehood, because, for example, prevailing the modified version of Monteiro Lobato's books, a reader of today will understand that there was nothing racist about him. In the same way that changes in Agatha Christie's books will surprise the young reader who will see a writer beyond her time, who apparently did not live through the British colonial period. Intellectual laziness cannot prevail in the guise of "historical corrections" and adaptations.


Adilson Roberto Gonçalves, researcher at Unesp, member of the Academia Campineira de Letras e Artes, of the Academia de Letras de Lorena, of the Instituto de Estudos Valeparaibanos and of the Instituto Histórico, Geográfico e Genealógico de Campinas.






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