Brazil: “New TV Concession Model Called For”


“The Authoritarian Temptation: The PT’s attempts to monitor and control the press, television and culture.” Translation: “Dilma could decide those zero-down spectrum concessions we got were the fruit of crooked dealings! Get rid of her, I don’t care how!”
Ecce Veja.

Asked whether the decision to support demonstrations against the automatic renewal of TV concessions might not backfire on the federal executive, Tatto responded with a smile: “No way! Our government is a Christian one: They beat us and beat us and we turn the other cheek.”

We know that you, President Squid, are going through a serious political crisis, and that handing the Minicom over to Costa was a step you had to take to wrangle some support from conservative groups that control media outlets. Groups that will not hesitate to abandon you whenever they feel like it. Still, we ask you to reconsider this nomination. In a few years, the political crisis will be over, but the missed opportunities for technological progress will remain as a harsh reality for Brazil. –Brazilian Free Software Foundation petition

PT quer mudar modelo de concessões de TV: “PT wants to change model for TV concessions.” The Estadão (São Paulo, Brazil) reports.

Opposition parties are likening the proposal to the borking of RCTV by Uncle Hugo in Venezuela. Then again, some of those people tend to “go Nazi,” as I call it — also known as “screaming Stalinism!” — at the drop of a hat in such debates.

“The drug traffic votes for Lula” — a variant on that ancient satirical Pompeiian grafitto according to which “the smelly drunks who sleep in the park support Marcellus for mayor” — being one of the most scabrous current pieces of nonsense along those lines.

The ex-blog of Cesar Maia made this point very explicitly last week, for example, in calling for the impeachment of the sitting president for criminal association with “narcoguerrillas.” Brazilian diplomats had offered Brazilian territory as a neutral site for meetings between FARC and Chávez on bringing an end to the squatting of the hard men in the jungle after all these decades.

See also

Some opposition political leaders, I hasten to add, don’t.

Which as I always say shows some wisdom and respect for the reality principle. I personally think. May they prevail over the gabbling Moonies in the upcoming cage-match for the heart and soul of the PSDB — whose former president is currently waiting to see if he is going to be indicted on charges of laundering embezzled public money into offshore political slush funds.

How much political leverage does the governing faction here think they can wring from the disturbing spectacle of the opposition’s gabbling hypocrisy on this point, anyway? Stay tuned and you may find out.

Meanwhile, the Estadão — whose parent corporation is itself, one reads, something of a vulnerable niche player in a Brazilian infotainment services business ecosystem dominated by the gargantuan cyclops of Globo — has fairly consistently reality-tested such fits of the screaming memes. In my observation. See, for example:

A cúpula do PT cobrará do governo a mudança do modelo de concessões de rádio e TV, com o argumento de que o sistema precisa ser “mais democrático”. Em reunião da Executiva Nacional, a primeira após o retorno de seus dirigentes de viagem à China, o PT decidiu ontem insistir na agenda batizada pela oposição de “chavista”: pedirá ao Ministério das Comunicações que reveja critérios de concessão para torná-los mais transparentes e menos políticos.

The leadership of the Workers’ Party will demand that the government change its model for TV and radio concesions, arguing that the system needs to be “more democratic.” In a meeting of the national executive board, the first after party leaders returned from a trip to China, the PT decided to insist on an agenda which the opposition is calling “Chávez-inspired”: It will ask the Minister of Communications to review the criteria for granting concessions in order to make them more transparent and less politicized.

A volta ao tema não é aleatória. Há manifestações previstas para o dia 5 de outubro por várias entidades, que questionarão concentração de poder do atual modelo e até o conteúdo das programações. Nesse dia também vencem licenças de cinco afiliadas da Globo, Bandeirantes, Gazeta e Cultura.

Bringing the issue up again is no accident. Demonstrations by various organizations are set for October 5 that will question the concentration of power under the current model, and even the content of programming. On that same day, the licenses of five affiliates of the Globo, Bandeirantes, Gazeta and Cultura networks will expire.

See also

“Achamos a lei das concessões extremamente liberal. Aliás, ela não é cumprida porque a maioria das emissoras é controlada por políticos”, afirmou o secretário de Comunicação do PT, Gleber Naime. “O problema é que esse sistema está concentrado nas mãos de poucos.” Apesar das cobranças, os petistas dizem não ver semelhança com a atitude do presidente da Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, que em maio cassou a concessão da RCTV. “Esse governo não tem coragem de fazer isso, nem pensa numa coisa dessas”, comentou o deputado Jilmar Tatto (PT-SP). Para ele, a oposição vê “fantasmas” onde não existem. Lembrou, ainda, que agências reguladoras têm contratos públicos.

“We think the legislation on concessions is extremely generous. And what is more, it is not even complied with, because most broadcasters are controlled by politicians,” said PT communications secretrary Gleber Naime. “The problem is that the system is concentrated in the hands of a few people.” Despite these demands, the PT leaders say they see no similarity with the attitude of Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, who in May [refused to renew] the [broadcast] concession of RCTV. “This government does not have the guts to do that, it would not even thing about doing such a thing,” commented federal deputy Jilmar Tatto (PT-SP). In Tatto’s view, the opposition is reacting to a “phantom menace.” He also noted that regulatory agencies have public contracts.

Did the Estado bother to interview any opposition politicians for their views on the subject for this story?

I guess it’s just sort of a standard one-source political kreminology piece.

Questionado se a atitude de apoiar manifestações contra a renovação automática das outorgas de TVs não prejudicaria o Planalto, Tatto respondeu com um sorriso. “Que nada! O nosso governo é cristão: apanha, apanha, apanha e dá a outra face.”

Asked whether the decision to support demonstrations against the automatic renewal of TV concessions might not backfire on the federal executive, Tatto responded with a smile: “No way! Our government is a Christian one: They beat us and beat us and we turn the other cheek.”

Na tentativa de mexer nesse vespeiro, o PT também decidiu encaminhar pedido de audiência a Hélio Costa (Comunicações), Franklin Martins (Comunicação Social) e Luiz Dulci (Secretaria-Geral). “Queremos debater a política de concessões dos canais de TV, o modelo de TV pública e marcar conferência nacional de comunicações”, adiantou Naime.

In its bid to stir up this hornet’s nest, the PT also decided to petition for an audience with ministers Costa (Communications), Franklin Martins (Social Communications) and Luiz Dulci (Secretary-General of the Presidency). “We want to debate public policy on TV concessions, the model for public TV, and to schedule a national conference on these topics,” Naime said.

Costa: Former Globo executive and talking head.

Martins: A prominent former talking head who was summarily fired by TV Globo. Dan Rathered by Ali Kamel, you might say, in honor of the old singing cowboy’s recently filed lawsuit against CBS.

See also

Essa não é a primeira vez que petistas e o próprio Lula entram em conflito com setores da imprensa. No início do primeiro mandato, por exemplo, o presidente se desgastou ao propor criação do Conselho Federal de Jornalismo, que fiscalizaria o exercício da profissão. A proposta acabou enterrada.

This is not the first time that the PT and Lula himself have gone head to head with sectors of the news media. At the outset of Lula I, for example, the president [took a licking] when he proposed the creation of a the Federal Journalism Council to oversee the exercise of the profession. The proposal wound up getting buried.

On the other hand, professional self-regulation by responsible adults has been gaining ground lately, in a very similar form, it seems to me.

A Executiva reiterou apoio à abertura de CPI na Câmara sobre a compra da TVA pela Telefônica – suspeita levantada pelo presidente do Senado, Renan Calheiros (PMDB-AL), contra a Veja, que fez denúncias contra ele. A revista é do Grupo Abril, que vendeu a TVA.

The Executive also reiterated its support for a congressional probe of the sale of TVA to Telefônica — a suspicion raised by Senate president Calheiros against Veja magazine, which made charges of wrongdoing against him. The magazine belongs to Abril, which sold TVA.

Abril, note, vehemently contests that description of the deal, saying that effective control of the cable operator remains in Brazilian hands and that the Spanish telecom is merely a “strategic partner.”

The “suspicion,” mentioned vaguely there, however, is that this is simply not strictly speaking true.

A similar exercise in the triumph of semantics over inconvenient legislation seems to be getting popular all over the continent.

Compare, for example, from Colombia:

There, too, the Spanish group claims that it did not “buy” the Colombian media group, in the sense of gaining effective control of its board.

But.

Sidebar: A petition to get rid of the former TV Globo talking head who runs the MiniCom these days, from Petitions Online, authored by the folks in the [angry, active and highly motivated] free software movement down here.
Among other things, they accuse him of being a greasy shill for Bill Gates.

Nós, abaixo assinados, estamos indignados com o posicionamento sobre diversos assuntos de interesse nacional manifestados pelo Exmo. Ministro das Comunicações, o Sr. Hélio Costa:

We the undersigned are indignant [!] over the positions taken on various topics of national interst by Hélio Costa.

– Desistência do padrão nacional de TV digital, claramente favorecendo o “lobby” das Organizações Globo e de empresas estrangeiras de tecnologia.

Abandoning the development of a Brazilian digital TV standard, clearly favoring the Globo lobby and foreign tech firms.

They adopted the Japanese standard.

– Congelamento (e provável desmonte) da implantação de Softwares Livres (SL) nos projetos de Inclusão Digital, por conta do “lobby” de diversos fornecedores de software, com destaque à Microsoft.

Freezing (and probably undoing) the implementation of Free Software in “digital inclusion” projects at the behest of various software companies, especially Microsoft.

– Falta de transparência no processo de implantação do Rádio Digital (IBOC, um sistema estrangeiro, proprietário e sujeito ao pagamento de “royalties”, vindo dos EUA).

Lack of transparency in the process of implementing the digital radio standard (IBOC, a proprietary system subject from the USA that is subject to payment of royalties.

– Não fazer o “unbundling” das redes de telefonia fixa para o provimento de acesso à Internet de “banda larga”, num movimento que apenas aumenta o monopólio das “teles” neste segmento.

Failing to “unbundle” fixed telephony networks in order to provide broadband Internet access, a failure that merely increases the monopoly of the telecoms in this sector.

– Demissão de Antônio Albuquerque, responsável pelo Departamento de Serviços de Inclusão Digital do Minicom.

The firing of Antônio Albuquerque, head of Digital Inclusion at the ministry.

Essas posições parecem convergir para a desistência de qualquer soberania tecnológica em setores altamente estratégicos, favorecendo grupos bilionários e estrangeiros num entreguismo digno das privatizações da era FHC.

These positions seem to indicate that he has abandoned any effort at achieving technological sovereignty for Brazil is these highly strategic sectors, favoring billionaire foreigners in an act of defeatism worthy of the Cardoso-era privatizations.

Nós, abaixo assinados, lamentamos a nomeação para o Minicom de um indivíduo, dono de uma emissora de rádio, e que sempre defendeu a posição das Organizações Globo – como por exemplo, sobre a criação da ANCINAV no Senado Federal – e que mostra que está com tudo do lado de “lobbies” poderosos, inclusive internacionais.

We, the undersigned, lament the nomination to the Ministry of a man who owns a radio station himiself and has always defended the interests of Globo — such as in the creation of the ANCINAV agency in the Federal Senate — and shows himself to be on the side of powerful lobbies, including international ones.

Sabemos que Vossa Excelência passa por uma grave crise política, e que a entrega do Minicom ao Sr. Hélio Costa foi um passo para angariar algum apoio de setores conservadores e que controlam diversas mídias. Setores estes que não hesitarão em deixá-lo só quando melhor lhes convier.

We know that you, President Squid, are going through a serious political crisis, and that handing the Minicom over to Costa was a step you had to take to wrangle some support from conservative groups that control media outlets. Groups that will not hesitate to abandon you whenever they feel like it.

Pedimos a Vossa Excelência a reconsideração da nomeação do Sr. Hélio Costa para o Minicom. Em alguns anos a crise política será apenas história, mas o retrocesso tecnológico iniciado hoje será uma dura realidade para o País.

Still, we ask you to reconsider this nomination. In a few years, the political crisis will be over, but the missed opportunities for technological progress will remain as a harsh reality for Brazil.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s