Brazil Comedians: Ban on Mocking Pols a Joke
Broadcasters are set to protest
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2010 8:23 AM CDT
Comedian-turned reporter Marcelo Tas, host of a weekly TV comedy, poses for pictures in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Tas was one of the few to dare mock Brazilian leaders while the country was a dictatorship.   (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

(Newser) – The Brazilian equivalents of Jon Stewart plan to gather in Rio de Janiero this weekend to protest a law that prevents them from making fun of politicians. The law—a relic from Brazil's days of authoritarian rule—outlaws ridiculing candidates for 3 months before an election, the Telegraph reports. Broadcasters who break the rules can be fined $110,000 and have their licenses pulled.

The law's supporters say the ban prevents candidates from being portrayed unfairly and helps keep a level playing field. Critics say the law makes a mockery of free speech. "Do you know of any other democracy in the world with rules like this?" asks Marcelo Tas,who hosts a weekly TV comedy show lampooning politicians and other celebrities. "If you want to find a bigger joke, you would have to look to Monty Python."