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Judge orders magazine copies to be seized, photos to be removed from website

(IPYS/IFEX) - During the second week of August 2006, all unsold copies of the ninth edition of the Social Observatory's magazine, "Revista del Observatorio Social", were seized. The order was issued by Ouro Preto's ordinary court in the state of Minas Gerais, southeastern Brazil, because of a report with the title "The Stone Age", published on 9 February, which had denounced the use of child labour in the region's talc mines. The ruling by Judge Lucía Magalhaes Albuquerque Silva states that the photographs of the children working among the rocks were published without their parents' authorization. The magazine was also ordered to remove the photographs from its web page.

The order was issued on 30 June, but it was not until August that a court official appeared at the magazine's headquarters to confiscate all unsold copies. The issue had been published in February and by August 90 percent of the 10,000 copies produced had already been distributed. It is not known why the court took so long to apply the order.

The ruling was based on the statute protecting children and adolescents (Estatuto da Criança e do Adolescente, ECA), which forbids the media to publish in whole or in part, without parental consent, the name of, or facts about, or police, administrative or legal documents pertaining to a child or adolescent to whom an offence is attributed. However, Marques Casara, the journalist responsible for the article, maintained that the photographs revealed that the mining companies were employing the children, a fact that is prohibited by the same law.

The Social Observatory belongs to the national labour central - the Central Unica de los Trabajadores (CUT) - and reports on cases of non-compliance with labour rights.

This alert was prepared by IPYS with information provided by the Brazilian Investigative Journalism Association (Associação Brasileira de Jornalismo Investigativo, ABRAJI).

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