Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Censorship in the telenovelas during the military dictatorship in Brazil

The worst part of censorship is ******** the ********

In the mid-1970s, the telenovelas suffered from censorship established by the military regime. At that time, television sets started to become popular among Brazilian families, and the making of tv serials soon became the main mean of entertainment in the country. The image that the authoritarianism of the military regime in Brazil wanted to get across was that of a politically stable government, a nation governed by a strict Christian morality and decency, in a prosperous and developed country.

Any mention to those times of political persecution or the lack of freedom of thought, was prohibited, omitted before a nation which, for the most part, the population did not know what was happening.
The censorship of the press generated different reactions. Newspapers and magazines had their materials censored, songs were prohibited, and the telenovelas suffered interference in their production as well.  Sex scenes, or criticism of the government and the church, were cut.
The television production was submitted to the Department of Public Entertainment Censorship and (DCDP). The interference of the censors in the novelas was quite extensive, including having the plot  diluted because of the political criticism (as in Irmãos Coragem) ; in "Selva de Pedra", a fictional wedding was banished because of a crime of bigamy. In "O Bem Amado" the words "Colonel" and "captain" were vetoed; and the novela "Roque Santeiro" was entirely censored.
"Roque Santeiro" was censored due to criticism of "negative"heroism. Censors throught its ideias could negatively influence people. This veto had a huge impact among the population, because of the reaction that the Rede Globo had before censorship. The station presented in the National Journal at the time presented by journalist Cid Moreira, a note written by Roberto Marinho, exposing the situation. The note, published in the "Journal of Brazil," pointed out that the novela contained affront to morality, public order and morality. "Roque Santeiro" then, was displayed only when the military regime ended, in 1985.

(the director remembers how Roque Santeiro was censored in 1975)

Officially abolished in 1988, the year of the promulgation of the new constitution after the end of military dictatorship, censorship left behind boxes and boxes that hold chapters scripts and synopses of all novelas, television series and programs shown in the period. Nothing escaped. Not even Hollywood films. Open to the public since 1994, the files are now in the National Archives in Brasilia, and they attract attention from the new generations.

Nowadays, In times of full freedom of expression, there is a new kind of censorship called “Classificação Indicativa”, which is a law under the Ministry of Justice on which the broadcasters are the ones who classify themselves in a kind of “self-censorship”, as explains Paulo Abrão ”we do not prohibit anything, provided it is within the recommended time. if the classification is not respected, we apply a fine. we do not interfere in the work, as it used to be done in military regime."


  1. That was very interesting Rebeca, thank you. I think it is awesome that the scripts of the censored programs are being made available to the public. Hopefully that will be a lesson learned. Another idea would be to take old script and adapt them to the contemporary world or to show how life during the dictatorship really was like (and not as portrayed in the telenovelas of that time).

  2. Yes, Lisa. I agree with you. It would be interesting to see.