Brazilian Supreme Court to decide about restrictions on political humor during elections

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  • August 26, 2010

By Maira Magro

The Brazilian Association of Radio and Television Stations (ABERT), has decided to go to the Federal Supreme Court over two sections of the Election Law: paragraphs forbidding jokes about politicians and the prevention of broadcasters from disseminating opinions about party candidates during campaigns.

The Association presented the complaint of unconstitutionality, arguing that the restrictions violate freedom of expression. The complaint asked for the immediate suspension of the restrictions in the 1997 Law 9.504. Violations of the law are punishable by a fine of about $57,000.

On Sunday, Aug. 22, a group of comedians protested the law on the beach in Copacabana, in Rio de Janeiro. The organization Reporters Without Borders sided with the group, and in a statement said that the "right of caricature and humor is a fundamental pillar of freedom of expression."

A commission set up by the Senate is analyzing reforms to the Electoral Code and could propose changes to the restrictions on political humor, reported O Globo.

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.