A Brazilian court just ordered the arrest of Google’s President of Operations in Brazil due to YouTube videos that allegedly contain “disparaging remarks” about a mayoral candidate.
According to a report by the Associated Press, Judge Flavio Peren ordered Google last week to remove two potentially libelous videos against running politician Alcides Bernal. Google reportedly refused, so Peren issued an arrest warrant for Google executive Fabio Jose Silva Coelho. He also ordered a statewide, 24-hour block of Google and its video sharing website.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based company is supposedly appealing the decision, claiming it is not responsible for the content posted on YouTube.
Today’s news is reminiscent of Afghanistan’s YouTube ban from last week over an American video that purportedly insults the Prophet Mohammad. The controversial YouTube video, which by all accounts portrays Mohammad as a womanizer and a religious hoax, prompted President Hamid Karzai to condemn it and claim freedom of speech does not permit the disrespect of Islam.
The contention subsequently spurred riots in North Africa and led to the killing of Libya’s U.S. ambassador. The Brazilian videos, one of which is available above, are trending notably less than the Afghanistan video. The messages, however, are still brewing a local firestorm. The Verge explained:
[…] The videos — which allege that Bernal instigated abortions among other charges — have pitted Google’s relatively liberal policy guidelines against local laws.Local outlet Midiamax reports that Google reviewed the videos and found that they did not constitute negative electioneering or warrant taking down; it apparently petitioned the judge’s order for removal last week.
9to5Google asked Google for comment and will update accordingly.