JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS

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Brazilian Supreme Court allows political humor during elections


Ayres Britto, of Brazil's Federal Supreme Court, granted an injunction the evening of Thursday, Aug. 26, against enforcement of a law that censors humor during election campaigns in Brazil. Britto responded partially to a complaint of unconstitutionality, filed by the Brazilian Association of Radio and TV Stations (ABERT), questioning restrictions of the electoral code (Law 9.504/97).

Britto acknowledged that it was unconstitutional to restrict satire on radio and television during elections.

In its complaint, ABERT also had called for the suspension of the restriction that prohibits the dissemination of "opinion for or against a candidate, party, coalition, its agencies and representatives" on radio and TV. Britto, however, maintained the restriction, but said it should be interpreted according to the Constitution and circumstances should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, a posteriori, by the judiciary. The decision takes effect immediately, but still must be considered by the rest of the court.