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Brazil: Advanced Voting Technology Mixed with Political Censorship

Brazil: Advanced Voting Technology Mixed with Political Censorship
culture
Lourenço Bustani
  • 8 october 2008

Brazil is a country internationally recognized as having one of the most advanced voting systems in the world. Electronic urns, available in all voting stations, allow for a fast count of votes and the release of results just a few hours after the end of voting. For example, this past Sunday, the 5th of October, nearly 128 million Brazilians voted for mayors in cities throughout the country. The results of these elections were available less than six hours after the voting ended.

But there is a darker side to this modern voting system: censorship is widespread in political campaigns, especially when it comes to the use of the internet. While freedom of speech is a guaranteed constitutional right, there are many restrictions on the ways candidates and parties can communicate with voters. National legislation prohibits electronic media to disseminate opinions in favor or against candidates. This means that the creation of sites, blogs, and communities for or against candidates is punishable by law. Printed newspapers and magazines are not subject to any censorship, creating an even greater confusion: for example, an article against a candidate published in a magazine cannot be posted in a blog or even on that newspaper’s website.

These restrictions create a barrier in communication and restrict valuable information to voters. With no widespread political discussion in interactive media, voters are less aware of what each politician really stands for and are thus less conscientious and informed. This is especially true when compared to other countries where not only the internet, but also mobile phones, are widely used in political campaigns as a tool to better inform voters.

[via Folha Online]

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