Critics say that the music encourages crime

Funk music in Rio de Janeiro is set to be protected by law – making it an official form of Brazilian culture, and making discrimination against it illegal.

However, critics who argue that funk encourages drug-taking, crime and underage sex are protesting against the country’s proposed legislation.

The Guardian has reported that a bill to outlaw “any type of social, racial or cultural discrimination against the funk movement and its followers” is set to be voted on in 2009.

Marcelo Freixo is the state official behind the bill, and told the paper: “There is huge resistance. Funk involves one million young people each weekend, but people still belittle it.”

However, police often stop funk parties in Rio because of claims from some officers that drug dealers are selling cocaine at them. Thus there is likely to be some opposition to the new bill, although it is expected to be passed later this year.