Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Performers Protest Brazil Satire Ban

Think twice about making a joke ahead of Brazil's presidential election.

Brazilian satirists are banned from joking about the presidential candidates, facing fines for making fun.

Performers are planning protests this weekend, saying they have a right to ridicule.

The "anti-joking law" bans people from making fun of candidates for the three months before elections, the Telegraph reports.

So far, the ban seems only to spur more speaking out.

Jokesters can be fined or have their broadcasting license suspended.

Marcelo Tas, host of a weekly television comedy show, said they've been self censoring in an effort to protect themselves.

Tas had some advice for the candidates:

"When you allow yourself to be interviewed or confronted with a critical opinion, like on my program, you may take some shots, but you can show a more human side that the voters might like," he said.

He said the law was a "very particular Brazilian type of madness," reported the AP.

Columnist Clovis Rossi called it an insult to the Brazilian people that will "permanently castrate the voters' right to information."

Governing party candidate Dilma Rousseff is already nicknamed "Iron Lady," while opponent Jose Serra lacks charisma, the AP reported.

Meanwhile, the country's eager to help with a different kind of speech -- they've set up a hotline for people having trouble with Portuguese.

Sources: AP, Telegraph, BBC

Source: Merco Press, Serra and Rousseff

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