A billboard displaying Livia Natalia’s ‘Quadrilha’ poem, in the city of Itabuna in southern Bahia, was taken down after four days due to its portrayal of a black character killed by military police; the billboard was originally approved to stay up for two months, Brazilian newspaper Globo reported on 21 January 2016.
The billboard received public funds from the Bahia State Cultural Fund. ASPRA, an association representing the police and military, took offense to the poem and the fact that public funds were used for the project. ASPRA released a statement on 11 January 2016 saying it found it “absurd” that the government would finance something that “incites discrimination, intolerance and racism against the State of Bahia Military Police”.
The government responded that the views in the poem did not reflect the government’s views, but it also did not offer an explanation for why it decided to remove the billboard.
Poet Natalia believes the government removed her poem under pressure from ASPRA.
“The fact is that we are facing censorship in 2016. It was the first time I saw it in my life. I was very shocked because it is a work of art,” she said. “You may not like the text, but it is meaningless to curtail freedom of expression. The Culture Fund is the government and, not for nothing, the Bahia flag was on the billboard. The government’s effort was to dodge.”
» Globo.com – 21 January 2016:
Writer claims to have suffered ‘censorship’ in poem about the death of the black PM
» Iteia – 15 January 2016:
Poem censored in Bahia