World Bulletin / News Desk
The Brazilian unit of Google, the world's No. 1 Internet search engine, said on Thursday it had obeyed a court order to remove a video attacking a candidate in Brazilian municipal elections from its YouTube service after legal appeals were exhausted.
The legal challenges underscore broader questions about Google's responsibility for content uploaded by third parties to its websites, including an anti-Islam video that sparked a wave of protests in the Muslim world.
An arrest warrant was issued for Coelho earlier this week by a court in Brazil's Mato Grosso do Sul state after Google failed to obey an order demanding removal of the video attacking a mayoral candidate.
Judges in Brazil have held executives responsible for resisting the removal of online videos in violation of a stringent 1965 Electoral Code. The law bans campaign ads that "offend the dignity or decorum" of a candidate.
Google, which says it complies with local law but fights "diligently" to protect free speech, complied with the judge's order after it ran out of appeal chances, Coelho said.
On Wednesday, Coelho was questioned by Federal Police officers over the failure to remove the video and was later released.
Ten days to remove anti-Islam video
Earlier this month, an electoral court in Brazil's Paraiba ordered the arrest of another senior Google executive, Edmundo Luiz Pinto Balthazar, after the company refused to take down a YouTube video mocking a mayoral candidate there.
The video clip loaded by the user "Paraiba Humor" seized on a verbal slip by a candidate in a montage remarking, "What an idiot - give him an F!"
Within days, another judge overturned the order to arrest Balthazar, writing that "Google is not the intellectual author of the video, it did not post the file and for that reason it cannot be punished for its propagation."
Brazil also state court in Sao Paulo ordered Google this week to take down an inflammatory YouTube video insulting Prophet Mohammad.
World leaders have decried the video, which set off a string of protests in the Muslim world, including attacks on U.S. embassies in Egypt, Libya and Yemen. Several Muslim leaders called for international action to outlaw acts of blasphemy.
When President Barack Obama addressed the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, he repeated his condemnations of the video as "crude and disgusting" but defended the importance of free speech in the United States and throughout the world.
Ruling on a lawsuit by Brazil's National Islamic Union, Sao Paulo Judge Gilson Delgado Miranda gave Google 10 days to remove the video. In his decision, Miranda said he weighed freedom of expression against the need to protect against action that might incite religious discrimination.