CHALLENGES FOR MEDIADEMOCRATIZATION IN BRAZIL AND LATINAMERICA Dr. Carolina Matos Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford
Key points• Introduction: a brief look at the Brazilian media• Media democratization debates revisited and intellectual framework for comparative research• European public service broadcasting and regulation• Latin American media: a history of neglect of public communication structures• TV Cultura versus TV Brasil: quotes from interviews and issues raised• Challenges for public media and media democratization
The Brazilian media system during the dictatorship• Authoritarian regimes in Latin America• Brazilian media (1964-1985): a) Militant journalism and resistance in the alternative media b) Era of “enlightened” debate? c) Alignments of the mainstream media versus resistance of certain journalists and newspapers during specific periods (Matos, 2008)
Brazilian media today• Journalism of the 1990’s – Blurring of the boundaries between newsrooms and commercial departments• The expansion of professionalism and objectivity• The decline of partisanship and militant journalism - romantic journalism of the 1970’s versus pragmatism of the 1990’s.• 90’s - multiple journalism identities (increase of public debate x decline of public sphere (Habermas)• Rise of watchdog journalism and investigative reporting as a contemporary genre of the 1990’s (Waisbord, 2000)
Latin American broadcasting has adopted US model• TV in many Latin American countries has developed following the US commercial model• I.e. Development of Brazilian television by military planners in the 60’s onwards contributed for the formation of what Straubhaar (2001; 138) has defined as the “nationalizing vocation”, and the creation of a consumer culture and engagement of Brazilians in the market economy (Matos, 2008).• Television has taken on a central role in political life, in the country’s democratisation process and in the construction of various identities. It is possible to say that in this sense TV Globo carries some resemblance with the role played by the BBC in the UK.
Four lines of research inquiry in Media and politics in Latin America (IB Tauris, 2012)Examination here has been done not by dividing nationsinto different chapters, but with a focus on the particularthemes, which I have chosen to call:Four lines of inquiry:•An evaluation of the historical evolution and the publicbroadcasting tradition of countries like the UK and Brazil;•The relationship established between the public mediawith the state, public sphere and the public interest;•The debates on what constitutes ‘quality’ programmingand information in both the private and public media;•An examination of the ‘crisis’ of civic forms ofcommunication, and how they can still be relevant.
Parts of Media and politics in Latin America• Frameworks of comparison for public service media• Public communications and regulation in Latin America• European public service broadcasting revisited• Journalism for the public interest: the crisis of civic communications and journalism in Latin America• Television, entertainment and the public interest• Audience perceptions of quality programming and the public media• Television, popular culture and Latin America and Brazilian identity• Internet for the public interest• Political cynicism and the digital divide• Mediated politics in the 2010 Brazilian elections• Media democratisation in Latin America: towards a politics for national development
Methodological issues* Triangulation approach is considered to largely avoid thebiases of a single method, working towards providing athick description (Jick, 1979: 608-9 in Jankowski andWester, 1991)* Online survey applied to 149 communication students atUFRJ* Conduction of in depth interviews with 12 journalists andpolicy-makers•Programmes and genres have become increasingly blurred and are shown on both•Hypotheses – that the public media differs from the private(i.e. quality programming); differences are subtle
Empirical work and survey: multi- triangulation method Discussion of programmes from the public media, mainly TV Brasil, but also soap operas and Jornal Nacional (O Globo) Compared the programmes offered during peak time on TV Brasil with those offered on TV Globo Contrasted the subtle differences between the themes and topics explored and choice of programmes Analyse of the uses of the Internet in political campaigning and blogging in the 2010 elections: a) new media as a counter-public sphere; b) gender politics and representation
Some survey resultsSurvey revealed a lack of knowledge of the public mediaMost watch TV Globo and cable and satellite TVThat said, 71% of students defended the public media, stating that it could have a role in correcting market failure and contributing to democratizationMost however saw little difference in regards to the type of information broadcast in commercial and public TV stationsDifferences however are subtle, regarding style and choice of programmes, such as emphasis on “serious” programmes over heavy entertainment
Media democratization debates revisited• Norris (2004) has argued that there can only be a positive relationship between democratic governance, human development and media systems in countries that meet the conditions of an independent press which permits the access to pluralistic information to all• A freer and more independent media and balanced press can only operate if they are not subject to either political or economic constraints (i.e. Hallin and Mancini, 2004), and if public service media systems serve the public interest and are not misused...• Last research (2008) showed how large sectors of the media were biased and susceptible to ideological manipulation, in spite of the growth of professionalism and objectivity in the last decades• Partisanship and political constraints have continued to prevail, manifesting themselves during the 2006 and 2010 presidential elections
Media democratization revisited• As Voltmer and Schmitt-Beck (2006) affirm in the context of their discussion of representative survey data of 4 new democracies, Bulgaria, Hungary, Chile and Uruguay, the fact that many citizens in new democracies lack the durable party identifications of the more established democracies makes many vulnerable to media biases• Literature on media democratization (i.e. Voltmer and Schmitt-Beck, 2006; Curran and Myung-Jin, 2000; Sparks, 2007) has stressed how countries as different as South Africa, Chile and China encountered various problems when it came to the democratization of political communications.• As Voltmer and Schmitt-Beck (2006) state nonetheless, some countries in Eastern Europe however did manage to implement PSBs with some degree of independence from both the State and from market competition – this is the current challenge in Brazil and Latin America
Comparative research in a changing world*Esser and Pfetsch (2004; 384) argue that it is mainly throughcomparative research that one is aware of other political andcommunications systems, being able to assess the merits andlimitations of one’s own system and acquiring a whole new wealth ofknowledge of other political and cultural models.*As Gurevitch and Blumler (2004: 335) state, good comparativepolitical communication research can be characterised as being aninvestigation of the impact of political cultures on politicalcommunications in different societies*Comparative political communication research offers us a set ofknowledge that increases our intellectual sophistication andunderstanding of the complexities of the world and of other cultures.* It forces us not to be narrow-minded, obliging us to deal with othercultures and ideas
Intellectual framework for comparative analysis• Norris (2009) contends that comparative political communication research should focus instead on articulating imaginative hypotheses, generating interesting observations for comparison• My aim has been to expand the available knowledge on the media and political systems of Latin America/Brazil, providing interesting observations of the region and of more advanced democraciesPSB in comparative perspective – 1) it assists in the evaluation of the achievements of public service broadcasting in European countries and its future challenges; - 2) it can also provide a framework for the development of the PSB platform in emerging democracies which are seeking to deepen political democratisation and reduce economic inequalities, thus contributing to expand debate and to promote wider social and cultural inclusion (Matos, 2008)
Future role for PSB in old and new democracies In the UK, PSB has emerged as vehicle for strengthening debate. Talk became more spontaneous and less constrained (Scannell, 1995) As a vehicle for cultural and educational emancipation; boost of political diversity as well as both regional and national integration Functioning as a counterweight to the market – the necessity of multiple public spheres and media to attend to both citizen and consumer demands Is a truly independent public media possible?
Broadcasting in the UK and regulation• Regulation in the UK has also been supported by various regulation bodies who have established different codes of conduct.• Set up under the 2003 Communications bill, the UK’s broadcasting regulator, Ofcom, has been an example of reference in media regulation in Europe;• Ofcom states that is main aim is to further the interests of citizens and consumers. Ofcom is responsible for limiting publicity, establishing gender quotas, independent production, protection of privacy, combating offensive content and the establishment of impartiality criteria
Broadcasting in the UK and regulation continued * According to Forgan and Tambini (2000, 03, in Santos e Silveira, 2007, 73), PSB regulation in the UK improved through time;• Dunleavy (1987) has argued how public service broadcasting regulation in the UK has managed to act as a counter-weight to the press, neutralising or balancing the biases of the partisan British tabloids;• Ofcom says it has a “bias” against intervention, and states that it regulates only to enable citizens to receive high quality information as well as to ensure fairer competition• As Petley (1999) has affirmed, broadcasting regulation has been largely successful because it has been attentive to citizen’s and consumer’s needs, responding to the public’s desire for regulation around issues such as diversity, plurality, political balance and educational purposes
Comparing media systems: Southern Europe and Latin America But - Market liberalisation and political democratisation have assigned new roles for state (more democratic participatory) and market (liberating versus oppressive of debate) Similarities between Latin American media systems and Southern European (Hallin and Papathanassopoulos (2002, 3): 1) the low circulation of newspapers; 2) tradition of advocacy reporting; 3) instrumentalization (political use) of privately-owned media; 4) politicization of broadcasting and regulation; 5) limited development of journalism autonomy.
Latin American governments and media reform• Brazil and Mexico, with stronger national production markets and audiences, registered lower levels of media concentration and higher diversity compared to other smaller countries in the region• Governments in Argentina, Venezuela, Ecuador, Paraguay and Bolivia have acted to promote media democratization through the creation of regulatory frameworks and public systems of communication• Argentina is being seen as an example by many experts• In the first government of Kirchner (2007-2011), the approval of the Law 26.522 – Lei de Servicos de Comunicacao Audio-visual, substituted previous legislation from the dictatorship• Law proposed limits on the power of media conglomerates, preventing any private TV company from owning more than 35% of the media, stating that licenses should be renewed every 10 years instead of after 20 and quotas for local production.
Public communication infrastructure in Latin America: a history of neglect State intervention in South America has had the aim of reinforcing governmental powers rather than promoting democratic communications (Waisbord, 2000; Matos, 2008). Broadcasting has been built on a combination of political control and limited regulation. Educational and state channels are mainly owned by sectors of the Church and politicians. National broadcasting policies have also been traditionally aligned with political interests and state control. Debates on the necessity of broadcasting and media reform and regulation culminated in the first realization of a conference on the theme in 2009 (i.e. Confecom debates)
‘Private’ versus ‘public’ dichotomyPrivate PublicRight/Conservative/Centre/Left – the Centre/Left/Liberal/someconsumer conservatives - citizen‘Objective’ and informational ‘Objective’/’public’/’serious’ journalismjournalismTalk shows/sit-coms/reality TV – Realism in films/documentaries/realityAmerican programming, some content TV – ‘arty’ and Europeanfrom other countries programming, some US materialAdvertising/aesthetic of consumerism ‘Quality’ aesthetic/Challenging– self/intimacy/the private sphere (i.e. material - collective/the public sphereSci-fi, horror)Dreamy/fantasy/’escapism’ texts – Historical material/in depth analyses –occasional ‘serious’ material some entertainment (i.e. Soaps, drama, sci-fi, horror).
Table 1 – Radio and TV stations controlled by politicians in Brazil (1994) (Source: Lima (2001: 107) (in Azevedo, 2006, 34)Channels Total Brazil Current Per cent politicians and pastTV 302 94 31.12%Radio 2908 1169 40.19%
Facts and figures on public communications and broadcasting in Brazil Government is preparing to put up for public consultation media reform proposals Last Lula government submitted a text to the Dilma government with proposals from the Confecom debates Changes to the current legislation on broadcasting, the Codigo Brasileiro de Telecomunicacoes, which dates to 1962. The latter combined the authoritarianism of the Vargas regime, such as power to distribute licences, with economic liberalism Aim of new regulation for broadcasting is to make the process of TV and radio concessions more transparent and quick Idea is that there would be one regulatory agency for communications. Anatel (Agencia Nacional de Telecomunicacoes) would gain more attributions and a new name (Agencia Nacional de Comunicacao)
TV Cultura versus TV Brasil• EBC, which controls TV Brasil, was launched in December 2007• Current restructuring of TV Cultura and TV Brasil to attend to multiple publics, with TV Cultura forming partnerships with newspapers such as Folha• TV Cultura is seen as aligned with the government of Sao Paulo, of the PSDB, whereas TV Brasil is linked to the federal administration (i.e. accused by the opposition when it was launched of being the “TV Lula”)• Academics and journalists are weary about media reform (i.e. Gabriel Priolli: “If FHC couldn’t do it, Lula either, I doubt Dilma will.”)• Sites: www.tvbrasil.ebc.com.br• www.tvcultura.cmais.com.br• www.redeglobo.globo.com
Quotes from interviews ‘ ...always when a government destined resources to the public TV, it wanted to be compensated by a positive representation..... We have not yet fully incorporated the notion that the public television attends to citizenship rights..... If we really have a strengthening of the public media – which will only be ‘public’ if it is really independent of governments – we will have advanced historically....In Brazil the idea that the government should interfere in social communications is like a multi-party consensus. We can see that no public television has total autonomy..The average mentality of politicians in that respect is still very backward....’ (Eugenio Bucci, journalist and former Radiobras president)
Quotes from interviews “Open television has been incapable of developing relevant themes or even to use national values, like music, to assist in constructing a national identity. The ways in which we can improve the quality of Brazilian television is to oblige them to include a quota for local production..... The issue is mainly to make room for wider competition, allowing the entry of new players. It is a market in which the only real competitors are Globo and Record, with the latter trying to imitate Globo’s model. The only way to break this mediocrity pact is to open spaces for new players...” (Journalist Luis Nassif, former FSP columnist and presenter of the TV Brasil debating programme Brasilianas.org)
Quotes from interviews‘In 2005, when the mensalao scandals emerged, that was when they ‘sold’ the idea to Lula to have TV Brasil, of having a strong public network capable of competing with the private, as the government wanted a media which could be more favourable...The government wanted an instrument to defend itself, and it convinced itself that it was important. This is a contradiction with the real role that public TV should have....There is actually a lot of idealism and hypocrisy in this whole discussion... People say that all you need is another option to TV Globo for people to change channels, but the reality is that they do not, they do not change to TV Brasil. I believe that this issue has a direct relation to education as well, for a better quality education produces audiences of better quality.....more sensitive and....interested in watching the public media....’ (Gabriel Priolli, vice-director of journalism of TV Cultura)
Media reform in Brazil: achievements and future challenges• Achievements of the last years include the realization of the Confecom debates; the implementation of TV Brasil and commitments towards media regulation• New rules for radio and TV concessions• Ministry of Communications of former government has identified five areas to tackle:• 1) creation of a new regulatory framework;• 2) regulation of article 221 of the Brazilian Constitution;• 3) author’s copy rights;• 4) Internet regulation• 5) public TV regulation.
Media democratization in Brazil: achievements and future challenges• Programme for the communication sector of the Lula candidature in 2006 underscored that democratization of communications was necessary to deepen democracy• Lima (2007) has argued that the 8 years of the Lula government did not represent a threat to the media (EBC was already a demand of the 1988 Constitution)* Broadcasting versus telecommunications: in Brazil in 2009, the profit of broadcasting was of R$ 13 bi, whereas for the telephone companies, this was R$ 180 bi* Genuine public media does not exist in Brazil, but educational stations controlled by the state (i.e. Legislative, Executive or Judicial powers (TV Senado);De-concentration of the market, and promotion of national and regional culture, are also deemed necessary
Challenges for public communications and media reform in Brazil• Reluctance of market sectors and some media organisations (i.e. fears of media censorship, control of content, competition, etc)• Break the false equation of regulation with censorship• Scholars believe that only a new regulatory framework for the media can be capable of contemplating differences between the state, the public and commercial sector• Study of other European regulation models (i.e. UK and Portuguese)• Document discussed in the Chamber of Deputies underlines the importance of the State in taking on responsibility for policies for public communications (i.e. guarantee funds)
Conclusions* There must be wider access to the Internet beyond the middle classes; more players need to be producers of media content and participate more fully as citizens* More support for community radio, funding for segmented media outlets and magazines 1) Building of a broadcasting regulatory framework committed to the public interest and independent; 2) reinforcement of balance and professionalism in newsrooms, including regulation of the journalism profession and auto-regulation of the press; 3) Fortifying of the public media platform, TV, radio and the Internet, followed by an engagement with the debate over “quality” 4) Strengthening of regional, local and alternative media 5) Wider access to less privileged sectors of the population to the Internet throughout Latin America
Selected bibliography Banerjee, Indrajit and Seneviratne, Kalinga (2006) (eds.) Public Service Broadcasting in the Age of Globalization, Singapore: Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC) Bolano, Cesar Ricardo Siqueira (2007) Qual a logica das politicas de comunicacao no Brasil?, Sao Paulo: Editora Paulus Canizalez, Andres and Lugo-Ocando, Jairo (2008) “Beyond National Media Systems: A Media for Latin America and the Struggle for Integration” in The Media in Latin America, Berkshire: Open University Press, 209-223 Curran, James, Iyengar, Shanto, Brink Lund, Anker, Salovaara- Moring, Inka (2009) “Media System, Public Knowledge and Democracy” in European Journal of Communications, vol.24, no. 1, 5-26 Dunleavy, Patrick and O’Leary, Brendan (1987) Theories of the state: the politics of liberal democracy, Handmills: Macmillan Education Fox, Elizabeth and Waisbord, Silvio (eds.) (2002) Latin Politics, Global Media, Austin: University of Texas Press
Bibliography continued• Hallin, Daniel C. and Mancini, Paolo (2004) Comparing Media Systems – Three Models of Media and Politics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1-17, 21-86, 251-306• Matos, C. (2008) Journalism and political democracy in Brazil, Maryland: Lexington Books• Norris, P. (2004) “Global Political Communications: Good Governance, Human Development and Mass Communication” in Esser, Frank and Pfetsch, Barbara (eds.) Comparing Political Communication: Theories, Cases and Challenges, NY: Cambridge University Press, 115-151• Scannell, P. (1989) “Public Service Broadcasting and Modern Life” in Media, Culture and Society, vol. 11, 135-66• Waisbord, S. (2000) Watchdog journalism in South America: news, accountability and democracy, NY: Columbia