Brazil · Decision · Judicial

Brazilian Association of Radio and Television Broadcasts v. Legislative Assembly of the State of Bahia

Issue:

A direct action of unconstitutionality against a state law from the Legislative Assembly of the State of Bahia [Assembleia Legislativa do Estado da Bahia] prohibiting advertisement targeted at children of foods and beverages with low nutritional value, and high in sugar, saturated fats, or sodium.

Summary:

The plaintiff Brazilian Association of Radio and Television Broadcasts [Associação Brasileira De Emissoras De Rádio e Televisão] claimed that the law of the State of Bahia was unconstitutional for 1) lack of competence under Article 220(3-4) of the Constitution of Brazil, and 2) violation of the freedom of commercial speech not explicitly included among the exceptions listed in Article 220(4) of the Constitution of Brazil. The Supreme Federal Tribunal rejected the claims, holding that 1) inaction by the federal state could not be invoked to prevent States from taking measures to comply with international obligations to protect public health and children, and 2) the law is a proportionate restriction of the freedom of commercial speech because it aims to protect public health and children, and it does so by imposing a slight restriction on advertising (limited to some venues, some products, and a small set of consumers).