Brazilian court grants TV, radio temporary permission to use political humor during elections

  • By
  • September 3, 2010

By Maira Magro

The Brazilian Federal Supreme Court ruled that radio and television stations now are free to broadcast political satire and jokes about election candidates. They also can issue opinions for or against candidates in news and editorial programs, as long as they don't serve as propaganda, reported O Estado de S. Paulo.

The decision of the two members of the Federal Supreme Court was in response to a claim of unconstitutionality brought by the Brazilian Association of Radio and Television Stations (ABERT).

ABERT questioned two aspects of the electoral law (Law 9.504/97) that it said violated freedom of expression: a clause that restricted satirical humor on television and radio during election periods, and another that prohibited the dissemination of "opinion for or against a candidate, party, coalition, its agencies and representatives" on radio and TV.

The court's decision suspends the two clauses, but maintains a ban on political campaigning by the media. Court member Ayres Britto, who delivered the decision, already had issued a preliminary injunction.

The new decision, also an injunction, is valid until the full court can analyze the complaint, explained Terra.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.