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On the agenda: greater freedom of the press, civilian control of the Internet, public communication and discussion about the democratization of the media

President Lula participates in the opening of the historic First National Communications Conference / Photo: Ricardo Stuckert /PR

Under the Lula and Dilma Administrations, Brazil made important advances in the most sensitive and central area of any Democratic society: communications. The press has never had such freedom to investigate – or not– any issue whatsoever, without censorship or economic pressure on the part of the government.

The people, in turn, gained a powerful antidote to one-sided thinking: the diversity of information and opinion provided by the Internet, more and more present every day in the lives of Brazilians. With the Internet, people no longer play a passive role of consumer of information and have begun to exercise the right to disagree and criticize. In addition to greater access, Brazilians also have access to an internet that is more open and democratic, thanks to the new Civilian Framework for the Internet, that attracted the attention of the entire world by guaranteeing freedom of expression, privacy and equal treatment to all users of the Internet independent of their financial power.

The Lula and Dilma Administrations understand that there is no single media form – there are many, each with different characteristics and needs. Government communications, therefore, must be open to all types of media, without giving priority to any single type, whether it be a daily paper with a large circulation or a radio station in a small city in the interior. Another innovation was the establishment of technical criteria for the distribution of official publications – in other words,  the investments in advertising in newspapers, radio and TV should be proportional to its audience or circulation, avoiding subjectivity or favor or persecution.

In the last 12 years, Brazil also made progress with the creation of the Brazilian Communications Company (EBC), to create a structure and promote public communication in Brazil. Another fundamental advance was realized at the first National Communications Conference (Confecom), in 2009. At this conference, Brazil began to discuss issues that were previously considered taboo, such as the concentration of the means of communication in the hands of a few groups, violating the intent of article 220, paragraph 5 of the Federal Constitution: “the means of social communication may not, directly or indirectly, be the object of monopoly or oligopoly power.”

We have come a long way, but there is still a long journey ahead of us in the direction of a goal that until very recently appeared to be a distant dream: the democratization of the means of communication.


Democratization of communication