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17 Dec, 2021 16:36

Bolsonaro in police crosshairs over spreading ‘election disinfo’

Bolsonaro in police crosshairs over spreading ‘election disinfo’

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has been accused of having a “direct and relevant” role in spreading disinformation about the country’s electoral system, a police report seen by Reuters claims.

According to the document, Bolsonaro has engaged in a series of actions to promote misinformation to Brazilian voters. Federal Police Commissioner Denisse Ribeiro wrote in the document, seen by Reuters, that Bolsonaro's social media posts had a “clear purpose” of misguiding Brazilians and raising questions about the integrity of the country’s electoral processes. 

“This investigation allowed us to identify that His Excellency President Jair Messias Bolsonaro had a direct and relevant action in promoting disinformation, following a pattern already used by other countries' governments,” Ribeiro said. 

The outspoken president has, on multiple occasions, claimed that the electronic voting system was rigged during the 2018 presidential election, despite him winning. Bolsonaro has never presented any evidence of fraud, but he says he should have won the election in the first round.

Bolsonaro has also looked to shed doubt on the outcome of next year’s election, suggesting he won’t accept it unless the electronic system is amended. The former army captain currently trails ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva – known as Lula – in opinion polls.

Ribeiro’s report was sent to Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes, who is leading the country’s inquiry into fake news.

Bolsonaro is no stranger to infractions on social media. In October, senators requested that the supreme court ban the president from social media after he claimed Covid-19 vaccines were linked to AIDS.