RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil’s leading multisystem operator Globo Cabo is breaking cable law by refusing to carry the Ministry of Culture’s newly launched TV Cultura e Arte channel.

The ministry has the right to a channel on all cable systems, but Globo Cabo execs say that slot is already occupied by NBR, run by government broadcast agency Radiobras, and there is no room for another.

“We told the Ministry we already meet legal obligation by airing NBR,” a Globo Cabo spokesman said. “We understand the Ministry and Radiobras are talking, and we are waiting for their reply.”

The spokesman suggested that NBR could carry TV Cultura e Arte’s programming, initially just a few hours per night. TV Cultura e Arte features films, docus, series and short films.

A spokeswoman for the ministry said government officials are negotiating with Globo Cabo, but gave no further details. The web bowed April 30 on the second largest cable/MMDS operator, TVA, and other indie operators. Globo Cabo had 1.5 million of Brazil’s 2.2 million cable and MMDS subs as of the end of last year.