The way it was written, or better yet, in any way it's written, Congress will
not approve the bill that creates Brazil's Federal Council on Journalism.
The presidents of the
House of Representatives and Senate as well as the leadership from the main
parties, including some from the governing Workers' Party (PT) have already
privately and publicly made their opinions known about the subject.
It's already becoming
evident that President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's intempestive proposal
presented a week ago, is not more than a bulldozing tactic and by coincidence
just at the eve of the municipal elections.
The government and the
PT's intention, in reality, is to prevent the disclosure of charges against
ministers and high-level public workers caught in all kinds of wrongdoing.
In threatening to create
an institution, which in theory would be able to suspend or even make null
and void the official registration of journalists, the powers that be want
to forestall the revelation of accusations against them.
In Brazil, journalists,
after graduating from a Communications school, need the government's seal
of approval to exercise their profession. The new bill is being presented
as a way to "guide, control and regulate" the media and when necessary
forbid journalists from writing.
This tactic is old hat.
During the military dictatorship (1964-1985) plenty of journalists were sued
courtesy of the National Security Law. This was not necessarily to send journalists
to prison, and much less to kill them, even though this would happen once
in a while.
The main reason for this
was to intimidate the class, to silence their voice by being truculent. Today
they are more subtle. They want to scare, just hinting that the journalist
might lose his job.
They are certainly oblivious
to the fact that the Brazilian Constitution considers working an unalienable
right, which can only be suspended by a judicial sentence.
It's nothing more than
a farce. By the way, something very common in all its nuances. What every
government since Ramses II really likes is praise. It hates criticism.
Inside the PT (Workers'
Party, the party of President Lula), the fight is getting ugly in São
Paulo, where the party is trying to find a candidate to run in 2006 for the
choice post of state governor. In this battle, all is allowed, there are no
Mercadante, PT's president José Genoíno, chief of staff José
Dirceu, House speaker João Paulo Cunha, São Paulo mayor Martha
Suplicy and even Finance Minister Antônio Palocci, all are coveting
the governor's seat. Each one of them has specific problems though.
Palocci knows that even
if there's a miracle and his economic policy works out, he will have plenty
of hurdles ahead. The first one it the fact that he is from Ribeirão
Preto, a smaller town in the interior of São Paulo that has little
weight in the polling booth. Despite all this, who knows.
Mayor Suplicy wants to
use city hall as a springboard for the Bandeirantes Palace (the governor's
office). That's why she has been so adamant about choosing Michel Temer as
her lieutenant and uniting with the PMDB party, which would give more solidity
to her candidacy.
In any event, first she
needs to be reelected as mayor, something not that easy to be accomplished
despite recent polls favoring her.
João Paulo, if
he is able to gather enough votes in order to continue as House speaker, will
continue to be a strong candidate.
José Dirceu was
sure this nomination would be his, since he has become the number two power
in the country, just behind the President. He controlled everything and still
controls a lot.
There is however, a stone
in his shoe, and its name is Waldomiro Diniz. Diniz, a former aide, who was
removed from his post after being involved earlier this year in a pecuniary
scandal, is still a hindrance for all-powerful Dirceu.
believes he has the natural if not the divine right to run for the São
Paulo governorship. After all, he was defeated in the previous election and
believes he should have the same privileges as President Lula, who ran three
times for President before getting elected the fourth time around.
He is being worn down,
however, such is his obstinacy in trying to justify everything that happens
to the PT under his helm. He might get lost for defending Delúbios
(Delúbio Soares, the Workers' Party treasurer suspect of improper real
Mercadante has already
sacrificed himself, in the past, accepting the position of vice-president
in a lost election. He has also served the Party in other capacities.
He was elected senator
by a large margin of votes and is the leader of the government in the Senate.
Mercadante is a counterpoint to Palocci, in terms of economic policy. It's
not clear at the moment if this is a plus or a minus for him. He, however,
holds the pole-position today.
There is another candidate,
better said, someone who would have a better chance than any of those mentioned
above if he was to run. That's why they don't want him being enlisted and
are keeping him at arm's length, out of the racing track. His name is Suplicy,
Senator Eduardo Suplicy.
Carlos Chagas writes for the Rio's daily Tribuna da Imprensa and
is a representative of the Brazilian Press Association, in Brasília.
He welcomes your comments at email@example.com.
from the Portuguese by Arlindo Silva.