BRASïLIA: Famous Brazilian songwriters - long activists for freedom of expression - are themselves coming under fire as they fight an attempt to overturn a law allowing celebrities to veto unauthorised biographies.

The debate emerged when the well-known musicians, including Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Chico Buarque and others, spoke out against an initiative by book publishers to have the law declared unconstitutional. The artists’ vehement opposition drew accusations they were now seeking to reinforce the type of censorship they had always fought.

The songwriters are turning from “being censored to the agents of censorship,” an editorial in Brazilian newspaper O Globo alleged Thursday. “There is no difference from what the dictatorship imposed on them.” A reader of the Folha newspaper wondered “What happened to Caetano, our idol, who sang ‘it’s forbidden to forbid,’” amid furious commentary from biography authors and other writers.–Afp