The Evolution of the Tupi Tube: Whither the Brazilian Beeb?

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A limit case illustrating the extreme undesirable outcome: Was the taxpayer-funded gazillion-jigawatt megaphone fair® and balanced®? “Balance and access” in KBC election coverage on the state-owned boob tube — a BBC 2.0 “content alliance.” From right to left: PNU (Kibaki), ODM (Odinga) … Source: EU EOM Kenya 2007.

TV pública cada vez mais estatal — Agência Brasil de Fato: As Sarkozy in France announces an Apollo moon shot to produce a “French BBC,” it is also interesting to watch the Brazilians trying a similar gambit.

Francoise Fressoz of Les Echos poses the right question, pithily, I think, about Sarko’s “civilizing project” for France’s news-media ecology: Can civilization be imposed by decree?

The Brasil de Fato activist news agency opines that the governance of the fledgling Brazilian public TV channel is looking more and more like it a recipe for reprising state-run Pravda in the bad old days.

The strange misadventures of the governor of Paraná, who controversially uses a state educational channel to criticize coverage of his administration in the (genuinely gabbling, it must be admitted) local press — reprise the issue on a local scale. His critics are reminded of Venezuelan TVes (if that channel is in fact as bad as people there reportedly joke it is.)

The whole debate is a little hard for the outsider to grok.

Imagine, for example, if the major metro dailies in New York decide that they were not really that fond of Eliot Spitzer, so they simply decided to ignore everything the guy did. Budget two column inches a day to what the guy is actually doing with your taxpayer dollars.

Or, conversely, that they were too fond of Eliot Spitzer, so they simply decided to run the guy’s press releases verbatim, without attribution. You see both situations here, in spades.

Carro-chefe da medida provisória (MP 398) que cria a Empresa Brasileira de Comunicação (EBC), a TV Brasil, proposta para ser uma emissora pública, já sofre uma enxurrada de críticas. Segundo Valério Britto, pesquisador e professor da pós-graduação em ciências da comunicação da Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos (Unisinos/RS), a MP teria que ser reeditada para que avance “em vários sentidos”. O modelo de gestão proposto pelo governo federal é o que mais o incomoda. “A indicação dos conselhos de gestão não deveria ser feita diretamente do Executivo. E como pode não ter nenhum tipo de vinculação social? As pessoas precisam representar setores da sociedade”, reclama.

TV Brasil, flagship of the executive provisional measure (MP 398) that creates EBC (the Brazilian Communications Co.), which was proposed as a public broadcaster, is already coming under heavy fire from critics. According to Valério Britto, a research and professor in the graduate school of communications at UNISINOS, the MP should be revised in order to improve it “in a number of ways.” The management model proposed by the federal government is what bothers Britto the most. “Nominations to the board should not be made directly by the executive brnch. And how can there not be any type of social connection? These people need to represent sectors of society,” he complains.

De acordo com a MP publicada no dia 24 de outubro, a TV Brasil será vinculada quase que exclusivamente ao governo federal, pela Secretaria de Comunicação Social, comandada pelo ministro Franklin Martins. O presidente Lula, por exemplo, terá o poder de indicar 80% do conselho administrativo e 95% do conselho curador, responsável pelas diretrizes da nova TV, pela sua linha editorial e que seria formado com a participação da sociedade civil com o perfil de “personalidades” isoladas, sem representatividade social.

Under the MP published on October 24, TV Brasil will be linked almost exclusively to the federal government through the Secretary of Social Communications, headed by Martins.

A former Globo journalist (they fired him.)

President Lula, for example, will have the power to name 80% of the board and 95% of the advisory council, which are responsible for appointing management and determining the editorial line, and which are to be selected with the participation of civil society …

“Em principio, o Estado não é incompatível com o público, mas corre- se o risco de que haja uma comunicação pouco comprometida com as necessidades da sociedade e venha a ser mais um lugar de apresentação dos órgãos de governo”, analisa Britto.

“In principle, the State is not incompatible with the public, but you run the risk of producing communication that has very little commitment to the needs of society, turning into just another outlet for State agencies,” Britto warns.

The federal executive already has Radiobras; federal (TV Câmara, TV Senado) and state (in São Paulo, TV Asembléia) legislatures have their own TV channels, as does the judiciary (TV Justiça).

Anti-democrático

Antidemocratic

Já Murilo Ramos, professor do Laboratório de Políticas da Comunicação da Universidade de Brasília (UnB), vai mais longe e considera que, “idealmente”, o assunto TV pública deveria ser tratado por projeto de lei (PL), não por MP. “O PL permite que, no Parlamento, haja a possibilidade mínima de ter a discussão por meio de audiências públicas e que exista um debate amplo numa questão tão sensível quanto essa”, disse.

Murilo Ramos, a professor in the Communications Policy Laboratory at the University of Brasília, goes further, arguing that “ideally,” the issue of public broadcasting should be determined by a bill in Congress and not by an executive legislative proposal. “A congressional bill would enable a minimal amount of discussion in public hearings, and promote a broad debate on a very sensitive issue,” he said.

The MP is a peculiar institution left over from the period of dictatorship.

If I understood this correctly (and I may not), the executive can send down legislative proposals to be voted up or down, without amendments.

O pesquisador da UnB ainda chama atenção para a questão da autonomia financeira da TV Brasil que, segundo ele, não está clara na MP 398. De acordo com Ramos, a autonomia da BBC inglesa, por exemplo, só é garantida por que as taxas recolhidas vão direto para os cofres da TV pública da Inglaterra. “Se o orçamento puder ser contingenciado, ou reduzido por decisão do Executivo, vai haver prejuízo para a autonomia independente do conselho que se implantar.”, explica.

The UniB researcher also calls attention to the issue of TV Brasil’s financial independence, which he says is not clear in MP 398. According to Ramos, the financial independence of the BBC, for example, is guaranteed solely by the fact that taxes collected go straight into the public broadcaster’s coffers. “If the budget can be made contingent, or reduced by Executive order, the independence of the board will be at risk,” he explains.

Yes, but the BBC 2.0 actually has a hybrid funding model that raises issues of its own.

Same goes for PBS in the EUA, which has apparently been quietly taken over by gabbling Moonies.

Para Ramos, o governo federal entrou no “equívoco” que vem desde a Constituição Federal de 1988. “Em 1988, quando se colocou que haveria a complementaridade entre o sistema público, privado e estatal, aceitamos que pudesse existir um sistema essencialmente privado, o que é um grande equívoco. Todo sistema de radiodifusão é público, o que é dada é uma concessão para exploração comercial”, observa o professor.

[tktktktk]

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