By Philip Sever, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – Civil Police officers have been sent by the Prefeitura to remove all illegal advertising across Rio as part of the Mayor’s continuing Choque de Ordem strategy to curb the small infractions for which the city is renowned. Normally a lease has to be agreed with the owner of any building used and permission from the Prefeitura has to be given, but often it is easier for advertising companies to make a deal with building owners and bypass official channels completely.
Operations started last Tuesday (April 28) by order of the Special Secretariat Of Public Order (SEOP) and concentrated on Copacabana, Jardim Botanico and Sao Cristovao where three large adverts had been installed on building sides.
A 136 meter squared poster was removed from Avenida Princesa Isabel, a 27 meter squared poster removed from Rua Bela in Sao Cristovao, and the company responsible for an advert on the inaccessible roof of a building on Rua Jardim Botanico was given 7 days to pull it down.
According to the department for public order the three companies had previously been reported for their posters and were aware that the adverts were illegal – as a result fines amounting to over R$100,000 were issued.
Tim Maia, who is working with SEOP stated that there are known to currently be 110 buildings with illegal adverts. To date 94 of the companies responsible have been notified and 17 of the adverts have already been removed. The Secretary for Public Order, Rodrigo Bethlem, said that at the beginning of this year, 206 adverts were removed and that the revenue from fining illegal advertisers had risen from R$834,000 to R$931,000.
The installation of advertising is governed by a clear law that prohibits “advertising devices of any kind that are within sight of any green areas, beaches, lakes, rivers, streams, islands or squares or which endanger life”.
Never-the-less, most companies are willing to risk being fined because of the profit margins they work with. According to agencies that sell such space, one advert (size 9m x 3m) can cost US $2,000 for 14 days. For example, adverts that were removed from Avenida Venceslau Brás, in Botafogo were priced at US$300 per day.