The Brazilian Ministry of Culture announced late last week that it intends to sue Facebook for blocking a photograph of a nude native woman originally taken in 1909. The ministry accused Facebook of trying to “illegally and arbitrarily” impose their standards on Brazil, and that the blocked photograph violated the Constitution of Brazil itself.
“The Ministry of Culture will take appropriate legal action against the practice of censorship and the attack on freedom of expression,” the ministry said.
The ministry said that it tried to contact Facebook and get the image restored, though they said they were told that it would not be unblocked. However, last Friday, the image was posted back on the site, and Facebook issued an apologetic note saying that it can be hard for the site to remain sensitive to the entire global community. However, despite the photo being unblocked, the ministry is still said to be considering legal action.
“For us it is a serious issue because it is an assault on our sovereignty, our legislation,” said Brazil’s Minister of Culture, Juca Ferreira. “It is disrespect to our cultural diversity and to the indigenous peoples of Brazil. If the Indians may not appear as they are, it means they may not appear indigenous, which is great cruelty.”