De: Ricardo Navalha <ricardo.nava...@gmail.com>
Enviadas: Sábado, 1 de Dezembro de 2012 12:42
Assunto: [Wikimedia Brasil] Statement from WMF General Counsel
I want to thank the Portuguese Wikipedia community in Brazil for their hard
work as Wikimedians and especially their dedication to and passion for the free
distribution of truthful information. Like other projects, Portuguese Wikipedia
represents an amazing collaboration and building of an encyclopedia that will
survive for many ages. You share in the honor of constructing something great
for the benefit of others.
Although I am not a Portuguese Wikimedian, if I may say so, I am a bit
concerned about seeing the situation in Brazil on Portuguese Wikipedia somewhat
escalating. May I please suggest consideration of calm and restraint in
deciding how the community responds to the situation.
At the Foundation, we have no tolerance for censorship of truthful information.
Because of legal ethical rules that apply in the United States, however, my
legal team may represent only the Foundation, not community members
unfortunately. Nevertheless, with a clear understanding that we are not the
lawyers for those members, we often help support them with our extensive global
experience when the members are faced with serious unjustified threats. In
doing so, of course, we rely on the community to follow its own policies, such
as NPOV, and to take the necessary steps to ensure that contributions are
not control or influence the content contributed by community members.
In the case of the investigation that has involved one of the members of the
community, we fear there is a misunderstanding since we are genuinely surprised
by the summaries that have been provided to us. Although we may be mistaken, we
actually thought WMF acted quite appropriately in this case with a close focus
on the issue. Although I prefer not to go into too much detail given the
ongoing matter, as I understand, the Wikimedian approached us when he received
an apparent request to appear for questioning as part of an investigation. At
that time, at our expense, one of my most senior attorneys at WMF contacted
legal counsel in Brazil to seek a better understanding of the risks. Legal
counsel advised us about the case in detail, suggesting that, under the
circumstances, the risk should be relatively low if certain things (as we
understood them) were in fact so. It appeared to us that the Wikimedian agreed.
We nevertheless cautioned that the Wikimedian
attend any meeting with police officials with legal representation to ensure
his rights were adequately protected against unjustified claims.
At that time, there were preliminary inquiries as to whether the Foundation
would pay for legal counsel. Under the Legal Fees Assistance Program and
the Defense of Contributors policy, certain threshold criteria must normally be
met. One such criterion is that the user must usually be named as a defendant
in a legal action, which was not so here. We nevertheless were in close contact
with the Wikimedian as we saw it. If the investigation had escalated, we would
have reassessed the need for additional support.
In a later update, we understood that the Wikimedian had obtained legal counsel
and that the two attended a productive meeting with the investigator. We also
had our Brazilian legal counsel review certain investigation documents, which
confirmed our assessment.
There was a request that WMF staff members be interviewed on the community
policies applicable to Portuguese Wikipedia. As a general matter, we are not
familiar with the policies applicable to Portuguese Wikipedia. We suggested
that the Portuguese community play a role in this regard.
We were watching the situation closely and providing guidance where we were
able. We care deeply about our community, and, in cases of serious unjustified
allegations, we seek to help support the community. Indeed, these types of
cases are not uncommon. Experienced in international matters, we are constantly
involved in rebutting unjustified allegations worldwide, and, if I may say so,
we are often successful at it.
Again I believe that the community should not aggravate the situation to avoid
misunderstandings or misperceptions which may unjustly expose community members
to unfounded legal threats. For this reason, I reiterate my recommendation of
consideration of calm and restraint in assessing and responding to the
Thank you for your genuine concern about free expression and your indignation
against unjust censorship. Thank you for collecting and developing educational
content under a free license or in the public domain for the benefit of the
With warm regards,
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