Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes has suspended parts of Sunday’s decree issued by President Jair Bolsonaro that lifted deadlines for government bodies to respond to data requests by way of the Access to Information Act — which essentially meant that the public administration would be allowed to stall these requests. The changes were initially foreseen to last until the end of the year, or while Brazil is in a state of calamity.
The lifting of these deadlines was heavily criticized this week by the press and non-governmental organizations. “In the war against Covid-19, one of the first casualties was transparency,” said economist Gil Castelo Branco, chief operating officer at Contas Abertas, an NGO which monitors public spending in Brazil.
Mr. Castelo Branco made a reference to a famous phrase attributed to the U.S. Senator Hiram Johnson. He is credited with saying in 1917 — during World War I — that “the first casualty when war comes is truth.”