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Brazil contests court’s blockage of messaging app Telegram

BRASÍLIA (AFP) – The Brazilian government on Saturday appealed a ruling from a Supreme Court justice that would block the popular messaging app Telegram, a favourite communications channel of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

Citing Telegram’s failure to comply with orders from Brazilian authorities and remove messages found to contain disinformation, Judge Alexandre de Moraes on Thursday ordered the app blocked immediately in Brazil.

“Telegram’s disrespect for Brazilian law and repeated failure to comply with countless court decisions… is completely incompatible with the rule of law,” wrote Moraes.

But in an appeal filed with another Supreme Court judge, Attorney General Bruno Bianco contended that Moraes’ ruling was “disproportionate” and should be reversed.

The decision comes as Bolsonaro, who has been gearing up to seek re-election in October, faces a slump in popularity.

With more than a million followers on Telegram, he is counting on the app to rally his base.

The Telegram app seen on smartphones. PHOTO: AFP