Posted on 4/7/2022 6:00 AM / updated on 4/7/2022 8:39 AM
Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the PTPSB coalition’s precandidate for the presidency in this year’s elections, has resumed a more consistent defense of a banner that has accompanied him since his first candidacy. 1989: the regulation of the media also referred to as social control of the media in leftist jargon. In recent statements, he again criticized the economic concentration of the industry.
In an interview last Wednesday, Lula stated that this issue should be the subject of debates with civil society and the legislature, thereby limiting the role of the directorgeneral. “The one who will regulate is Brazilian society, it will not be the President of the Republic,” he said. But last August, in an interview in São Luís, Lula made “a public commitment that we will create a new regulatory framework for the media.”
The media regulation proposal was resubmitted by the PT to the crossparty working group preparing the government plan for the Lula Alckmin ticket, but the thesis was toned down in the final version of the document. The original proposal, prepared by the PTaffiliated Perseu Abramo Foundation, preached that “freedom of expression cannot be the privilege of some sectors, but a right for all.
According to participants in the working group that prepared the final version of the document, the issue was not even discussed by the allied parties. But after passing the evaluation of Lula and his previce candidate Geraldo Alckmin, the text was amended and published without the passage dealing with economic concentration. However, a backup of journalistic work was included in the final version. The plan states that “democracy requires the greatest possible freedom of the press.”
Despite this, Lula remains of the opinion that the economic concentration of the sector should be discussed in the next government. “Newspapers and magazines are the problems of the owners, do what you want, write what you want. But for this media, which is a concession from the state, we need to get society to discuss how to better democratize itself,” he suggests.
For journalist and communications scholar Eugênio Bucci, one of those responsible for including the issue in Lula’s second presidential campaign in 1994, the former president is still looking to the past. And he emphasizes that this is not a debate between left and right, “it’s about democracy”.
Bucci reminds that the media is regulated in countries like the United States, Canada and most parts of the European Union and that the Constitution also provides for the regulation and subsequent regulation of the sector from Article 220 onwards. But not for the reasons usually given, such as economic concentration.
“People complain that the media is controlled by nine or ten families and then they post the criticism on Twitter or Facebook. It doesn’t make sense,” says Bucci, who criticizes the global monopoly of socalled “big techs,” who “are usually controlled by a single person.”
He also lists two other “bottlenecks” that should be addressed and regulated. The first, the “lack of clear boundaries” between churches and media. “Church is an institution, media is business. There must be no transfer of interests or resources between the two,” he emphasizes.
In the case of economic concentration, the scientist points out that the bottleneck lies in the regional markets. “It is necessary to have clear limits on the concentration of property. In a city there cannot be one person controlling all funds,” he notes.
Patrícia Blanco, president of the Instituto Palavra Aberta an NGO that monitors the country’s communications agenda agrees that the debate “must be brought to the present”. She just doesn’t think this is the ideal moment given the political polarization in the country, which was even more intense in the preelection period.
Blanco reminds that the media today is very different than it was less than a decade ago. “The press, for example, is no longer the opinion maker. The debate is taking place today on Twitter and Facebook, which are monopolists. It is necessary to reduce the heat of the moment for the discussion to move forward,” he said. .
It reminds of the threat posed by the rapid advance of fake news in the digital environment. “The fake news debate is contaminated by polarization. We have much more trouble with social media on issues of plurality and diversity and with voices not being held accountable for the harm they cause. We cannot succumb to the temptation to regulate what should not be regulated,” he explained.