The Brazilian Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters (ABERT) has long been governed by a Code of Ethics that outlined a responsibility to consider young people in the scheduling of television. The Code was first published at the third Brazilian Broadcasting Congress in October 1964, two years after ABERT was established and following the passing of Brazil’s Telecommunications Act. The Code was followed until a new statute was approved by the Brazilian Congress in 1980, and subsequently revised in 1983, 1984, and 1991.
However, the most significant revisions to the “Brazilian Broadcasting Code of Ethics” were made in July 1993. Most notably, the revised Code allowed for ‘the application of penalties on broadcasters found to have committed excesses in their programming’, described in “Chapter VI Proceedings and Disciplinary Provisions”, which also outlined the establishment of an Ethics Commission (ABERT 1993, article 23). “Chapter II Scheduling” outlined time-based limitations related to the content of programs. For example, “2) Programs and films which may air after 8:00p.m. include those: a) which observe the same restrictions as those applied to general audience programs, although they may insinuate sexual conjoining, visually depict the act or the bodies, without indecent kissing or salacious eroticism” (article 15). Descriptions are also outlined for limitations related to content to be screened at 9pm and 11pm.
The NGO ANDI – News Agency for Children’s Rights has written that ABERT’s Code of Ethics’ had never been made available to the public in its entirely until 2006, when it was published as an appendix by ANDI itself (ANDI 2006, 61). In a major review of Brazilian television ratings practices and proposal for a new regulatory system, a number of the proposals are based on the 1993 ABERT document (2006, 61). At the time, ANDI suggested that the gap between the principles outlined in the Code and the “day-to-day activities of companies” underpinned the need for greater oversight of the broadcasting industry, which had failed to implement a satisfactory system of TV self-regulation (2006, 61-62). For example, the Ethics Commission outlined under article 23 of the Code was not established and there was insufficient clarity and consistency over the norms governing content to be exhibited at various times in the TV schedule.
– ANDI. (2006). TV rating system: building citizenship on the small screen. Brasilia: ANDI and the Department of Justice, Classification, Titles and Qualifications.
– Pieranti, O.P. & Martins, P.E.M. (2006). The Brazilian Telecommunications Code and the expansion policy of the broadcasting: the action of entrepreneurship as a pressure group. Intercom: Brazilian Society of Interdisciplinary Communication Studies. XXIX Brazilian Congress of Communication Sciences. 1-15.