An Intro to Brazil’s History of Censorship

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04/08/2020

Brazil has a long history of censoring artists and the arts. In fact, several artists had their works censored and had to flee the country during the Military Dictatorship (1964-1985). Movies, TV shows and songs all had to go through “official channels” before they reached the general public and many were censored—in part or in full—along the way. If in the dictatorship, censorship was the rule, in democracy there were some emblematic cases as well—take, for example, the censorship of musical group Planet Hemp in 1997 or the censorship of an image of Christ the Redeemer at the Beija Flor samba school parade in 1989. “Brazilians are permissive with the idea of information control. From the private life of celebrities to memoir books, etc,” says Eliseu Neto, psychoanalyst and LGBT activist. Censorship cases have risen since Jair Bolsonaro’s rise in Brazilian political life—from a minor and even comical politician to a possible candidate and now president. Art exhibitions (Queer Museum), films (such as the screening of a film about guerrilla fighter Carlos Marighella) and books (case of the Rio de Janeiro Book Biennial) are all under attack.

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