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Journalist, a Dangerous Job in Brazil

 Journalist, 
        a Dangerous Job in Brazil

About
20 million Brazilians have access to the Internet.
Brazil publishes more daily newspapers than Mexico, Germany,
or Russia. It also has the fourth largest TV network in the world.
Journalists from Brazil are protected from censorship by the Constitution.

Still being a journalist in Brazil is a hazardous profession.
by: Jamie
Popp

 

Brazilian
journalists are protected under the constitution from censorship and
enjoy the rights of a free press of sorts. Unfortunately, many journalists
who cover corruption the risk of death threats, injury and in some cases
death for their efforts. The Inter-American Press Association and the
Justice Ministry have been investigating cases of attacks on journalists
in Brazil, according to U.S. State Department.

The
government controls radio and television licensing in Brazil, which
are manipulated by politicians who own various stations and newspapers.
This dynamic makes it difficult to tell who controls which media outlet
and how many publications or stations. Additionally, political candidates
have free use of airtime on both television and radio broadcast channels
during election campaigns.

Under
the 1967 Press Law, journalists receive stiff penalties (prison time)
for libel charges. Organizations such as the National Federation of
Journalists and the National Newspaper Association are working to change
the laws that restrict journalists’ rights to report on corruption and
protect journalists from excessive sentences and publications from fines.
Prosecutors moved to restrict press access to detainee information in
1988.

In
a move opposed by the Union of Broadcasting Networks for Democracy,
the senate passed a bill in 1998 that would further regulate frequencies
and owners of community radio stations. Later, in 1999, government officials
moved closer towards relieving imprisonment sentences for journalists
charged with libel. However, while advances were made to protect journalists
in 2000, Congress upheld a bill restricting the amount of information
that a civil servant could reveal to the press and a Federal judge closed
2,000 community radio stations.

According
to the World Press Freedom Review, Brazilian journalists experience
more freedom in larger cities like Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo,
but large news organizations such as Agência Globo and Agência
JB (in Rio de Janeiro); Agência ANDA and Empresa Brasileira de
Notícias (in Brasília); and Agência Folha and Agência
Estado (in São Paulo) suffered from government control and fines
in 2001.

According
to Victor Gentilli, a professor who published a study on media industry
consolidation in the 70s, due to an authoritarian regime, journalists
reporting for respected newspapers such as O Estado de S. Paulo and
Folha de S. Paulo and national magazines such as Veja and
Isto É were censored and persecuted for exposing corruption.
This caused a surge in alternative media and an increase in the use
of the Internet throughout the country.

Internet

In
less than a decade the Internet in Brazil has surpassed classrooms and
research facilities as a way to reach millions of users. The number
of people worldwide who are linked to the Internet in 2005 is expected
to reach close to 400 million accounting for more than $620 billion
in Internet commerce, according to Brazil’s Ministry of Science and
Technology. The Internet was offered to the general public in Brazil
in 1995 by the Ministry and more than 19.7 million Brazilian use the
service today.

According
to Nielsen-NetRAtings, only in 2002, the number of Brazilians with access
to the Internet grew by 2.1 million. The study says that 45 percent
of people 16 year old or older living in a house with a telephone have
access to the Internet. 14.3 million Brazilians access the Internet
from home.

In
a presentation given at a conference in Milan in January 2002, Juarez
Quadros do Nascimento, then Ministry of Communications executive secretary,
discussed the changes in the telecommunications industry since the privatization
and nationwide service in Brazil leading to a 19 percent growth rate
in software sales over the last decade. According to Nascimento, the
information technology sector grew by 13 percent annually from 1993
to 1999 with help from legislators and the Brazilian National Bank for
Social and Economic Development.

The
convergence of technology, software and service price drops and Internet
growth creates a hot bed for domain name registration. Brazilians registered
more than 445 million domain names in 2001 and the number increases
by almost five percent monthly. Experts predict that by 2006, nearly
42 million users from all classes will be logging in to do business
on-line. Brazil is the largest Web site host of all countries in Latin
America, according to the Ministry of Communication. Nascimento said
sales over the Internet would likely reach $2.5 million by 2003. More
than 90 percent of the population currently uses electronic services
provided by the government to vote and file taxes although small-to-medium
businesses remain in the paper age.

Telecommunications

According
to statistics published by the national phone service ANATEL, 45.9 million
Brazilians owned telephones and 27.8 million carried cell phones. In
the face of international competition from Portugal, Italy, France and
the United States, ANATEL has been working on a plan to lower the costs
of owning a local telephone line (in 1997 residents in larger cities
such as Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo paid $3,000 for the line
alone, according to the Library of Congress). Nascimento predicts national
service costs and installation time will decrease substantially by 2005.

Today,
Brazil has approximately 160 telephones per 1,000 people. The number
may be small when compared to developed countries, but it is very significant
in the Latin American context.

Newspapers

In
2001, close to 2,000 newspapers were in circulation of which 74 daily
papers accounted for 3.9 million papers distributed to readers, according
to the National Newspaper Association. The number of daily newspapers
in circulation dropped by more than 25 percent in 2002. Still Brazil
prints more daily newspapers than Russia, Mexico or Germany. Although
actual revenues did not change significantly from 2001 to 2002, the
association attributes the drop off in circulation for some newspapers
to lack of advertising from Internet and telecommunication companies.

According
to Grupo de Midia, "In the beginning of 2001, five large newspapers
in the country—Correio Braziliense, Estado de Minas,
O Estado de S. Paulo, O Globo and Zero Hora—got
together and promoted … Anúncio Brasil (Ad Brazil)."
According to the Circulation Verification Institute, 1.3 million copies
were then distributed as inserts in Sunday newspapers.

Magazines

According
to the International Federation of the Periodical Press, in 1998 over
1,500 different magazines were published in Brazil. The decrease in
advertising that newspapers experienced in the last year also affected
the magazine market. In 2002, Editora Abril reported a two percent decrease
in magazine revenue in their first quarter earnings statement over the
previous year and more than a five percent drop in advertising support.

Unlike
newspaper markets, magazines experienced a decline in advertising from
cigarette makers banned from selling their brands on billboards and
in print publications in 2001. According to the Institute for Circulation
Verification in Brazil, the number of subscribers also decreased by
four percent. The average magazine subscriber in Brazil is a woman in
her mid-to-late 20s and upper-level income bracket. The largest magazine
publishing companies, Editora Abril (78 different magazines) and Editora
Globo (29 different magazines), represent a fraction of more than 1,400
magazines sold in Brazil today.

Television

About
nine tenths of Brazilian households own a television set. More than
300 television stations and 3,000 radio stations are supervised by the
National Department of Telecommunications, a branch of the Ministry
of Communications. Although there are twenty government and institutionally
run channels, the largest television networks include Rede Globo de
Televisão (Globo), Rede Bandeirantes, Sistema Brasileiro de Televisão
(SBT), and TV Record, according to the Library of Congress in Washington,
D.C..

Signals
from the national networks go through government run satellites and
the Ministry of Communication is currently working with the government
officials to bring digital television to 50 million viewers in the country.
TV Globo is the fourth largest television network in the world—behind
American TV networks CBS, ABC and NB—and earns more than $30 million
annually from selling its soap operas to 68 different countries.

TV
Educativa is an educational networks funded by the state, but it reaches
only those living close to a few major cities like São Paulo
and Rio. Cable TV was practically unknown before the late 1990s, but
since then it has been expanding rapidly.

Radio

Radio
stations (including short wave) broadcast throughout the country are
controlled and licensed by the government. Nearly half of the population
has a radio, according to World Almanac statistics. Brazil also operates
a national radio service which is broadcast to Europe, the Americas
and Africa and parts of Asia. Radiobrás, the Brazilian Radio
Broadcasting Company, is an advocate for radio technology in the country.
A few radio stations in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Recife
are now broadcast over the Internet for worldwide listening.

In
2000, the government took steps to allow international access to large
private media companies. According to Bloomberg, the Brazilian media
giants Editora Abril, Agência Globo, Agência Estado and
Folha, want international ownership in their companies to help get out
of debt and allow units of the company to be traded publicly. The latest
change in the industry also should help smaller radio stations suffering
financially.

According
to International Federation of Periodical Press, media ownership regulations
in Brazil allow for foreign ownership, concentration and a capital structure.
However, cross media ownership is prohibited. International investment
in the media industry includes Cisneros Group of Companies, one of the
largest media companies in the Americas, which began investing heavily
in the Brazilian market in May 2000 after they teamed up with AOL Latin
America (to control 50 percent of the company) and opened a technology
investment company in Brazil.

 

Jamie
Popp is a freelance Brazilian Portuguese translator. As a former
exchange student in Brazil, a University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate
with a degree in Brazilian Literature and a frequent traveler to
Brazil, her background is extensive in the language and culture.
You can write the author at poppsun@aol.com
 

 

 

 

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