PUBLIC BROADCASTING AND MEDIAREGULATION IN LATIN AMERICAUNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI, FINLANDDr. Carolina MatosGovernment DepartmentEssex University
Core readings• Barnett, Steven and Ivor Gaber. 2001. “The crisis in political journalism: anoutline of the argument” in The Westminster tales: the twenty-first centurycrisis in British political journalism, London: Continuum, 1-11• Blumler, Jay G. and Gurevitch, Michael. 1995. The Crisis of PublicCommunication, London: Routledge, 97-111• Buckman, Robert T. 1996. “Current States of the Mass Media in LatinAmerica” in Cole, Richard (eds.) Communications in Latin America –Journalism, Mass Media and Society, Wilmington: Scholarly Resources, 3-37• Guedes-Bailey, Olga and Jambeiro Barbosa, Othon F. 2008. “The media inBrazil: a historical overview of Brazilian broadcasting politics” in TheMedia in Latin America, Open University Press, 46-61• Keane, John. 1995. “Structural Transformations of the Public Sphere” inScammell, Margaret and Semetko, Holli (eds). 2000. The Media, Journalismand Democracy, Hants: Dartmouth Publishing Company• Matos, C. (2012) Media and politics in Latin America: globalization,democracy and identity, London: I.B. Tauris
Key points• Four lines of inquiry of Media and politics in Latin America: globalization,democracy and identity (I.B. Tauris, 2012)• Empirical research and methods• Future role of public service broadcasting (PSB) in old and new democracies• Broadcasting in the UK and regulation• PSB’s tradition versus a citizen’s knowledge of politics• Public communication structures in Latin America: a history of neglect• Latin American governments and media reform• The “private” versus “public” dichotomy in television broadcasting• Public communications in Brazil: achievements and future challenges• TV Cultura versus TV Brasil and quotes from interviews• Conclusions• Thank you!
Four lines of research inquiry in Media and politics inLatin America (IB Tauris, 2012) An evaluation of the historical evolution and thepublic broadcasting tradition in the UK and Brazil; The relationship between the public media with thestate, public sphere and the public interest; The debates on what constitutes ‘quality’programming and information in both the privateand public media; An examination of the ‘crisis’ of civic forms ofcommunication, and how they can still be relevant.
Intellectual framework for comparative analysis• My aim has been to expand the available knowledge on the mediaand political systems of Latin America/Brazil, providing interestingobservations of the region and of more advanced democracies• Latin American continent has changed significantly since the fall ofdictatorship regimes, with democracy flourishing amid the rise topower of centre to centre-left wing governments, culminating in newapproaches to foreign policy, efforts of restructuring the state andwelfare programmes;PSB in comparative perspective– 1) it assists in the evaluation of the achievements of publicservice broadcasting in European countries and its future challenges;- 2) it can also provide a framework for the development of the PSBplatform in emerging democracies which are seeking to deepenpolitical democratisation and reduce economic inequalities, thuscontributing to expand debate and to promote wider social andcultural inclusion (Matos, 2008)
Empirical work and survey: multi-triangulationmethod• Online survey applied to 149 communication students atUFRJ• Conduction of in depth interviews with 12 journalists andpolicy-makers• Discussion of programmes from the public media, mainlyTV Brasil• Analyse of the uses of the Internet in politicalcampaigning and blogging in the 2010 elections:• a) new media as a counter-public sphere;• b) gender politics and representation
Some survey results• Survey revealed a lack of knowledge of the public media• Most watch TV Globo and cable and satellite TV• That said, 71% of students defended the public media,stating that it could have a role in correcting marketfailure and contributing to democratization• Most however saw little difference in regards to the typeof information broadcast in commercial and public TVstations• Differences however are subtle, regarding style andchoice of programmes, such as emphasis on “serious”programmes over heavy entertainment
Future role for PSB in old and newdemocraciesIn the UK, PSB has emerged as vehicle forstrengthening debate.Talk became more spontaneous and lessconstrained (Scannell, 1995)As a vehicle for cultural and educational emancipation;boost of political diversity as well as both regional andnational integrationFunctioning as a counterweight to the market – thenecessity of multiple public spheres and media to attendto both citizen and consumer demandsIs a truly independent public media possible?
Broadcasting in the UK and regulation* The state’s participation in the ownership or regulation of thebroadcast media in liberal European democracies has been basedupon the need to guarantee standards of ‘neutrality’, minimisingpolitical bias....• Set up under the 2003 Communications bill, the UK’s broadcastingregulator, Ofcom, has been an example of reference in mediaregulation in Europe;• British newspapers operate on a system of self-regulation (i.e.Press Complaints Commission is an independent self-regulatorybody)• Government in Brazil debates creation of new communicationagency, similar to Ofcom.
Broadcasting in the UK and regulation continuedAccording to Forgan and Tambini (2000, 03,in Santos e Silveira, 2007, 73), PSBregulation in the UK improved through time;• Dunleavy (1987) has argued how publicservice broadcasting regulation in the UK hasmanaged to act as a counter-weight to thepress, neutralising or balancing the biases ofthe partisan British tabloids ;• Regulation in the UK has also beensupported by various regulation bodies whohave established different codes of conduct.
PSB tradition versus citizens’ knowledge of politicsBBC is pointed out by researchers as being ableto deliver more elections news, produce longerstories of greater substance and give moreattention to minority partiesStudies (i.e. Curran, 2007; Scammell andSemetko, 2005) have shown how certaincountries with a strong PSB tradition, like Britainwith its dual system and the Scandinaviannations, where the state subsides minority mediaoutlets, citizens have more knowledge of politicsand international affairs than countries where thecommercial media system predominates (inMatos, 2008)
Latin American governments and media reform• Brazil and Mexico, with stronger national production markets andaudiences, registered lower levels of media concentration and higherdiversity compared to other smaller countries in the region• Governments in Argentina, Venezuela, Ecuador, Paraguay andBolivia have acted to promote media democratization through thecreation of regulatory frameworks and public systems ofcommunication• Argentina is being seen as an example by many experts• In the first government of Kirchner (2007-2011), the approval of theLaw 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% ofthe media, stating that licenses should be renewed every 10 yearsinstead of after 20 as well as quotas for local production.
Public communication infrastructure in Latin America:a history of neglect State intervention in South America has had the aim of reinforcinggovernmental powers rather than promoting democratic communications(Waisbord, 2000; Matos, 2008). Broadcasting has been built on a combination of political control andlimited regulation. Educational and state channels are mainly owned bysectors of the Church and politicians. National broadcasting policies have also been traditionally aligned withpolitical interests and state control. Debates on the necessity of broadcasting and media reform and regulationculminated in the first realization of a conference on the theme in 2009 (i.e.Confecom debates)
‘Private’ versus ‘public’ dichotomyPrivate PublicRight/Conservative/Centre/Left – theconsumerCentre/Left/Liberal/someconservatives - citizen‘Objective’ and informationaljournalism‘Objective’/’public’/’serious’ journalismTalk shows/sit-coms/reality TV –American programming, some contentfrom other countriesRealism in films/documentaries/realityTV – ‘arty’ and Europeanprogramming, some US materialAdvertising/aesthetic of consumerism– self/intimacy/the private sphere (i.e.Sci-fi, horror)‘Quality’ aesthetic/Challengingmaterial - collective/the public sphereDreamy/fantasy/’escapism’ texts –occasional ‘serious’ materialHistorical material/in depth analyses –some entertainment (i.e. Soaps,drama, sci-fi, horror).
Table 1 – Radio and TV stations controlled bypoliticians in Brazil (1994) (Source: Lima (2001: 107)(in Azevedo, 2006, 34)Channels Total Brazil Currentpoliticians andpastPer centTV 302 94 31.12%Radio 2908 1169 40.19%
Public communications in Brazil: achievements andfuture challengesAchievements of the last years include the realization ofthe Confecom debates; the implementation of TV Brasiland commitments towards media regulationMinistry of Communications of former government hasidentified 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 regulation5) public TV regulation.
Public communications in Brazil: achievements andfuture challengesGenuine public media does not exist in Brazil, but educationalstations controlled by the state or others which represent theLegislative, Executive or Judicial powers (i.e. TV Senado);• Scholars believe that only a new regulatory framework for themedia can be capable of contemplating differences betweenthe state and public TVs in relation to commercial sector• Programme for the communication sector of the Lulacandidature in 2006 underscored that democratization ofcommunications was necessary to deepen democracy• Auto-regulation of newspapers is being proposed by NationalAssociation of Newspapers (ANJ), praised by Unesco
Facts and figures on public communications andbroadcasting in Brazil Government is preparing to put up for public consultation media reformproposals Last Lula government submitted a text to the Dilma government withproposals from the Confecom debates Changes to the current legislation on broadcasting, the Codigo Brasileiro deTelecomunicacoes, which dates to 1962. The latter combined theauthoritarianism 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 andradio concessions more transparent and quick Idea is that there would be one regulatory agency for communications.Anatel (Agencia Nacional de Telecomunicacoes) would gain moreattributions 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 tomultiple publics, with TV Cultura forming partnerships withnewspapers such as Folha• TV Cultura is seen as aligned with the government of Sao Paulo, ofthe PSDB, whereas TV Brasil is linked to the federal administration(i.e. accused by the opposition when it was launched of being the “TVLula”)• 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 thepublic TV, it wanted to be compensated by a positiverepresentation..... We have not yet fully incorporated thenotion that the public television attends to citizenship rights.....If we really have a strengthening of the public media – whichwill only be ‘public’ if it is really independent of governments –we will have advanced historically....In Brazil the idea that thegovernment should interfere in social communications is like amulti-party consensus. We can see that no public televisionhas total autonomy..The average mentality of politicians in thatrespect is still very backward....’(Eugenio Bucci, journalist and former Radiobras president)
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 publicnetwork capable of competing with the private, as the governmentwanted a media which could be more favourable...The governmentwanted an instrument to defend itself, and it convinced itself that itwas important. This is a contradiction with the real role that public TVshould have....There is actually a lot of idealism and hypocrisy in thiswhole discussion... People say that all you need is another option toTV Globo for people to change channels, but the reality is that theydo not, they do not change to TV Brasil. I believe that this issue hasa direct relation to education as well, for a better quality educationproduces audiences of better quality.....more sensitiveand....interested in watching the public media....’(Gabriel Priolli, vice-director of journalism of TV Cultura)
Challenges for public communications and mediareform 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 themedia can be capable of contemplating differences betweenthe state, the public and commercial sector• Study of other European regulation models (i.e. UK andPortuguese)• Document discussed in the Chamber of Deputies underlinesthe importance of the State in taking on responsibility forpolicies for public communications (i.e. guarantee funds)
Some conclusions** More support for community radio, funding forsegmented media outlets and magazines1) Building of a broadcasting regulatory frameworkcommitted to the public interest and independent;2) reinforcement of balance and professionalism innewsrooms, including regulation of the journalismprofession and auto-regulation of the press;3) Fortifying of the public media platform, TV, radio andthe Internet, followed by an engagement with the debateover “quality”4) Strengthening of regional, local and alternative media5) Wider access to less privileged sectors of thepopulation to the Internet throughout Latin America