Analysis: As Brazil cracks down on fake news, Bolsonaro’s new move is straight out of Trump’s playbook – and he knows it
“The Internet was invented to fight the manipulation of information in order to control the people’s thoughts,” said President Bolsonaro in a speech to the congress.
“Today’s internet cannot be used to spread lies, misinformation and rumour. The media industry must therefore be allowed to operate without the restrictions that the political parties impose on them.”
“I want the internet to be a place where truth triumphs over illusion and lies.”
The speech is clearly a throwback to Trump’s White House – with similar talking points, similar rhetorical flourishes, and a similar way of bringing a political leader down to their lowest point.
In the Trump-Bolsonaro comparison, the American president is playing to his audience’s worst fears, while Bolsonaro is using a similar strategy as one of his most vocal supporters on the opposition Rede Globo network, with the slogan “fake news kills”.
Bolsonaro has said that he will go after “fake news” in a way that is not “the least bit similar” to any of the policies of the U.S. administration.
“I will use the internet in a completely different manner from how the United States is doing,” he told state broadcaster TV Globo. “The internet is a place where democracy is protected and manipulated by those who are trying to undermine it. I will go after it with a powerful weapon – the truth.
“The internet has the capacity to take care of the truth, so the government – even in Brazil – has to be more responsible when it comes to disseminating information.”
In other words, Bolsonaro doesn’t want the Brazilian government to have the same role as the U.S. administration: to protect the public from fake news via the press and the news media.
Instead, he wants to use the internet as a weapon that will make them all pay for the dissemination of misinformation.
He believes the internet is going to be a “great ally” on his campaign for re-election in the 2019 election.
“That is what our internet is for now,” he said