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Frequently asked questions

Was the Brazilian Communications Company (EBC) created to broadcast propaganda for the federal government? 

The Federal Constitution says in article 223 that the existence of public, private and state systems of communication, should function as complements of each another. The creation of the EBC in 2008 was a response to a decision articulated in the Constitution of Brazil. The government has in TV NBR one of the principal means to bring information about the acts of the Brazilian government to the public. The vehicles of the EBC (Agência Brasil, TV Brasil, EBC radio stations, the EBC Portal, Radioagência Nacional and TV Brasil Internacional) are dedicated to carrying out quality public communications dedicated to the interests of society. It is a challenge that motivates the professionals at the Company every day. The EBC has a Conselho Curador (Steering Committee) made up pf members of civil society, representatives of the EBC, the Congress and the Executive branch to ensure commitment to this mission. Finally, it is worth pointing out that public communication exists in countries on every continent, offering quality programming for the citizens of a wide variety of countries like Canada, Japan, England, the United States, Colombia, France and Spain.

Do the governments of Presidents Lula and Dilma want to create rules to control communications in Brazil?

Not at all. Communication is an area that is essential to democracy and, like other important areas in our society, requires rules that make its operations more harmonious, democratic and positive for the public. Thus it is important that such communication maintain standards that promote its development that corresponds to the expectations of society with regard to the sector. This is why the Lula and Dilma administrations worked to encourage the participation of civil society in the area. It was with this in mind, for example, that the federal government promoted the Confecom conference in 2009 with the participation of a wide variety of social segments, including communications sector business leaders, especially from the larger groups. This was the spirit of the characterized the creation of legislation such as the Law of Access to Information in 2011 and the Civilian Structure for the Internet in 2014. They are standards that seek to expand the participation of the citizen in society.

Why did President Lula reactivate Telebras: to guarantee control of yet another state company and jobs for his fellow party members?

In fact, Telebras was not deactivated after the privatization of its principal assets by the FHC government because a good part of its employees found useful work, even in the government of the opposition, in agencies such as Anatel and the Ministry of Communications.  Thus, the reactivation of Telebras during the second administration of President Lula was designed to give a final purpose to the company, rather than just representing an asset without much use to Brazilians. Since its reactivation in 2010, Telebras has encouraged partnerships with various economic agents, from state companies to small municipalities, from state governments to small Internet providers, tapping the resources of the giants in the sector like TIM and OI. The employee profile of the company has been reconstituted by using professionals who first must pass an exam. This has allowed Telebras to gradually reconstruct its role in structuring Brazil’s communications, above all in broadband Internet. For this purpose, Telebras will build a geostationary satellite, in partnership with Embraer. It also has a network of fiber-optic cables: it is now almost 20,000 km long comprising to carry broadband Internet to every corner of the country. In the coming years the cable total will be about 30,000 km..

Hasn’t the National Broadband Program been less than fully satisfactory?

Certainly, the National Broadband Program (PNBL) can still - and will – achieve many more gains. In any case, since its establishment in May 2014, the PNBL already created a new scenario in the telecommunications sector in Brazil, strengthening the fiber optic infrastructure in both large transmission and distribution networks (so-called backbone and backhaul) as well as promoting increased access to broadband Internet in public facilities, stimulating competition and the emergence of new players —  small to medium-sized providers and large companies.  In popular terms, we can say in summary that the PNBL and the reactivation of Telebras have shaken up the sector. In addition, mobile access to broadband, the federal government’s biggest bet, has been growing exponentially.  At the end of February 2014 there were more than 140 million connections to high-speed Internet in Brazil, of which 118 million were mobile access and the remaining 22 million coming from fixed connections. The 3G network has been implemented in a total of 3,500 municipalities and the 4G network is in almost 100 cities. So that the results can serve even more of the needs of Brazilian citizens, it is necessary to increase the velocity and the quality of service as well as guarantee that lower-cost plans can be really available (and not hidden) by the companies – and that the quality of the service will be equal for all users. These are the challenges that the Civil Framework for the Internet will certainly have to confront. In addition, to build a true Internet 2.0 in Brazil, it will be responsibility of future governments to consolidate the role of Telebras in this process – both in terms of the service between government agencies as well as providing service to the end consumer (the so-called “last mile”).

Are the proposals for the “technical media” and the regionalization of advertising budgets designed to benefit allies and obtain support of the government?

On the contrary. The criteria for the “technical media” equate the size of the advertising budgets passed to the media services with the size of the audience and circulation of the vehicles of communications. Advertising buys by the government, which previously benefited the leaders in audiences or certain media outlets without consistent justification in a disproportional manner, became subject to a new technical criteria. With the innovations introduced through technical media, the advertising spend - which in reality represents the dissemination information of public interest about the government’s programs and activities - now reach many more media outlets and many more municipalities. For example, in 2003, the federal government advertised in media outlets located in 182 municipalities, a number which grew to more than 2,000 in 2009. And the number of vehicle's that were able to broadcast federal government announcements jumped from 499 to 7,047  between 2003 and 2009. Public interest  information now reaches the public wherever it is. And without giving preference to any special vehicle.

Isn't the relationship of the Federal Government with the press deteriorating?

In fact, the measures adopted by the federal government with regard to the press in the administrations of Presidents Lula and Dilma have been moving in the opposite direction. They attempt to assure more freedom, more social participation, diversity and plurality, etc. For example, the federal government has made a growing investment in its communication via digital media and social networks, in an attempt to boost transparency and interaction between the press and the citizen. Also to this end, TV NBR guarantees all interested broadcasters access to the satellite link and free images of all activities of the president of the Republic and the various events link to the daily activities of the Federal government. The programs “Café com a Presidenta” (Breakfast with the President) and “Bom dia, Ministro” (Good Morning, Minister) enhance the federal government’s dissemination of information and improve contacts with the outlets. And, to complement this picture, President Dilma and the ministers today have extended the channels of access to regional, national and international vehicles. This is done through constant realization of press conferences - regional, national and international – some of them exclusive, as well as a weekly column in which President Lula directly answered, and now President Dilma answers, questions from readers in regional media.