UPDATE: The Supreme Court of Brazil has made a decision that the 1997 law prohibiting political ribbing is unconstitutional. The Judge further clarified that this restriction was only intended for periods when the electoral process is in crisis. The ruling comes just in time for the comics to prepare for the upcoming elections in October.
Brazilian Comedians March for “right -to -ridicule”
Several hundred people marched along Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beach protesting the “anti-ribbing” ban in anticipation of the Oct 3 elections. “This is a joke—and it’s not in the slightest bit funny,” said Fabio Porchat, a stand-up comedian who helped organize the protest. “First we can’t laugh at politicians, but from here it’s going to grow—by 2015 we won’t even be able to talk about the government.”
The Supreme Electoral Tribunal in 2009 approved an amendment to the electoral law that outlaws ”any use of audio or video that in any way degrades or ridicules candidates (or) political parties.”
The new amendment became effective in July with fines up to 100,000 Reais ($57,000 USD) for offenders with twice that much for repeat violations.
“This is a country that wants to be considered a mature democracy and then it comes out with something like this—it’s completely ridiculous,” said Danilo Gentili, a reporter for the comic news program CQC, known for aggressive and mocking interviews of high-profile politicians.