by Leander Milbrecht
Brazil’s homophobic President Jair Bolsonaro cancelled funding for TV shows six weeks ago because he disapproved of its content. He described the financial support for social projects, including LGBTIQ* films, as “money wasted”. Now a federal judge declared the financial freeze null and void.
The Brazilian government stopped the funding for 80 films – worth over 17 million US dollars. The freeze applied for 360 days, during which the committee responsible for awarding the grant was to be re-formed.
Discrimination of LGBTIQ* films?
Director Emerson Maranhão had declared at the time that Bolsonaro would only harm the other projects in order to stop his film. Maranhão’s project Transversais is a documentary in five episodes about Brazilian transsexuals. It was the first project to be cancelled by the president – in a depreciatory way, according to the director.
Judge Laura Bastos Carvalho has now stopped the freezing of financing and thus the suspension of the films themselves. She declared the government’s plan invalid and made it clear that the judiciary would always protect equal treatment and freedom of speech from the executive. This was last done in June, when the Tribunal Supremo, Brazil’s Supreme Court, ruled that attacks on homosexuals and transsexuals should be treated as racist crimes. This happened because parliament had previously failed to pass a law to this effect, the judges declared.
The government can still appeal against the federal judge’s decision on film funding.
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