The Children Are Watching: A History of Age-Rating Television in Brazil
Histories of Brazilian media regulation typically emphasize a major transformation with the passing of the federal constitution in 1988, contrasting censorship during the military period of 1964‒1985 with age rating, or “indicative classification,” thereafter. Contemporary conflicts among child advocates, television broadcasters, and the state as monitor of the industry’s self-regulation are grounded in a much longer history of age rating in popular media. Drawing on an examination of files from Brazil’s Ministry of Justice and interviews with current examiners, this article provides a history of age ratings for television in Brazil and of the processes by which classification decisions are made. We argue that the desire to limit young people’s access to television through age ratings has had significant ramifications in Brazil, evident in the formation of legal regimes, reform of institutional practices, and even the revision of time zones.