After Years of Censorship Brazil’s Supreme Allows Political Satire on Radio and TV

Brazil TV program CQCThe Brazilian Supreme Court decided to suspend the rule banning radio and television comedians and programs from producing political satire about parties and their candidates in the run of the October national elections. 

The preliminary decision was made late Thursday, when Supreme Court judge Ayres Britto ruled that the 1997 law does not warrant censorship of Brazilian media. That would be unconstitutional, the judge said.

He further argued that the electoral process is not a state of emergency, the only situation that would warrant restricting freedom of opinion.

Britto’s decision was a response to a request filed Wednesday by the Brazilian Association of Radio and Television (Abert).

The 1997 law establishes fines of up to US$ 60,000 for media that broadcast any “audio or video resources which in any way degrade or ridicule candidates, political parties or coalitions” in an election.

Brazil’s comics held a protest Sunday in Rio de Janeiro, to demand that the law be repealed.

“We do not abide by laws that are there to serve you. On the contrary, it is you who make and monitor laws to serve us. And we don’t want this law. You, our elected officials, can repeal it,” Danilo Gentili, of the political humor program CQC, said in an open letter to Congress and to Electoral Justice officials last week.

The Supreme Court’s decision would become permanent after the court’s plenum evaluates the decision at an unspecified date.

Mercopress

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