7 September 2009
Brazil: 1st National Conference on Communication to Go Ahead
On 1 September 2009, after much uncertainty, the national preparatory commission for the first Brazilian Conference on Communication has finally been made official. The main differences of opinion on the Conference have been overcome and it should now take place in December 2009. ARTICLE 19, an active member of the São Paulo State Conference Commission, calls on all levels of the Brazilian government to engage fully and cooperatively to ensure that the conference is successful in promoting a wide-ranging and productive debate about the future of communications policy in Brazil.
National conferences are official forums created by presidential decree to promote meaningful dialogue among government, civil society and the business sectors, with a view to providing substantive input into official planning and policy-making. The Conference on Communication, earlier threatened by budget cuts and issues of representation, has been long demanded by groups calling for urgent review of the seriously outdated law and policy currently applicable in this area.
The Conference will have 1,539 delegates, divided among the private sector (40%), civil society (40%) and government (20%). The approval of sensitive issues, an earlier deadlock, will require the endorsement of 60% of participants, including at least one vote from each sector. The level of private sector representation has been controversial, as civil society groups believe it is over-represented considering the greater plurality of social movements.
Discussions on communications are taking place all over Brazil currently, including through informal preparatory meetings at the municipal, inter-municipal and state levels. ARTICLE 19 was involved in the organisation of a preparatory seminar in São Paulo on 1 August titled “From the communications we have to the communications we want”. That meeting brought together over 270 people to discuss such topics as broadcasting licensing, women and the media, and the situation of community radios.
ARTICLE 19 calls on all levels of the Brazilian government to engage fully in the National Conference process so as to ensure that the final outcome reflects the aspirations of Brazilians for a democratic and public interest broadcasting system.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
• For more information please contact: Paula Martins, Brazil Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org, +55 11 3057 0042