Brazil Government and Media
World Press Freedom Rank: Brazil 107/180
Reporters without Borders, says violence against journalists in Brazil, specifically after Jair Bolsonaro’s election as president has been “feeding a climate of hate and suspicion towards journalism”. Another issue RSF draws attention to is the concentration of ownership of media in the hands of big business families and their relationship with politicians. Reuters reports in 2020 “Brazil’s four largest news media outlets said they have withdrawn their reporters from coverage of right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro’s official residence due to the lack of security to protect them from heckling and abuse by his supporters.”
Government Influence on Media: In Brazil, most of the mass media outlets are privately owned and not funded by the government with the exception of public broadcasting TV and Radio networks such as Empresa Brasil de Comunicação. However, the government is planning to privatize them as well. Media ownership in Brazil is highly concentrated through family conglomerates that dominate the nation and threatens plurality. TV, radio, printed media, and online outlets are owned by these dynasties with cross-ownership of different types of media being common practice. For example, the biggest TV network Globo Network as well as magazines, and newspapers are all owned by Organizações Globo. In another example, one of Brazil’s largest publishers Editora Abril is part of the holding company Grupo Abril. Another issue is that politicians through their families are also indirectly involved in media ownership. This practice is prohibited by the Brazilian Constitution, however, this still continues. Media Ownership Monitor gives examples of politicians who own media companies such as Vittorio Medioli, who is the former federal deputy and the owner of Super Notícias and O Tempo as well as “three other newspapers, an internet portal, a webTV channel, and an FM radio station.” Other families whose members are elected politicians and also in the media business include Câmara, Faria, Mesquita, and “The Macedo family, which controls the Record Group and the Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus evangelical church.” In addition to a high concentration of media ownership by families, the issue of public funding used in media advertising also threatens Brazil’s press freedom. Furthermore, another threat to the media is Brazil’s current far-right President Bolsonaro, who promotes dangerous anti-media rhetoric.
In conclusion, the media is influenced by corporate entities and family dynasties that have connections to the government. Add in anti-media sentiments by the President and you have a perfect recipe for a reduction in press freedom and limitations on plurality.
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