Government makes final adjustments to Democracy Package

In response to the coup acts of January 8, the Ministry of Justice and Public Security (MJSP) is making the last adjustments today (23) to what it called the “Democracy Package”. The government intends to present at least two bills and a Proposal for a Constitutional Amendment (PEC) to tighten legislation on crimes against the Democratic State of Law.

The drafts (standard drafts) must be completed by the end of this Monday (23rd), before being examined one last time by the Minister of Justice, Flávio Dino, and sent to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who is responsible for last word, said MJSP Secretary of Legislative Affairs, Elias Vaz.

The idea is that the package will be presented to Congress as early as next week, the first after the return of the legislative recess and the inauguration of elected and re-elected parliamentarians. With the justification of avoiding new attacks against democratic institutions, the government will make three main proposals:

– increase penalties for crimes against the democratic order

– federalize security in the central region of Brasília, with the creation of a National Guard

– criminalize posts that incite violence against institutions on the internet, with the accountability of internet platforms that do not take down anti-democratic publications

Internet

Under the proposal, companies that manage social networks, for example, would be required to remove anti-democratic content from the air, which violates democracy protection laws, even before a court decision. In the event of a court order, the deadlines for compliance must be shortened. Fines must be applied in case of non-compliance.

“As you identify clear behavior against democracy, you cannot wait for a court decision to remove it. [publicações do ar]”, defended Vaz. Asked about the fear with freedom of expression and opinion, the secretary said that the measure should be applied when there is “clearly a violation of the law” and that the project is concerned with protecting the criticism and opinions of internet users.

The last legislative change in this regard was made in September 2021, when former President Jair Bolsonaro sanctioned with vetoes the project approved by Congress that replaced the old National Security Law. For example, the article that typified “mass misleading communication” as a crime was vetoed.

Regarding crimes against the democratic order, the proposal provides for increased penalties, but there is still no consensus on the dosage. Currently, for example, the Penal Code provides for a sentence of four to eight years in prison for anyone who “attempts, using violence or serious threat, to abolish the Democratic State of Law”.

Translated to english by RJ983

From Brazil, by EBC News