Other than this writeup in the regional Diário do Grande ABC, there was surprisingly little press coverage or public relations promotion of last week’s International Seminar on Freedom of the Press at IICS — the International Institute of Sciences, Social — here in São Paulo.
The event takes place amid clamoring and yammering for a congressional investigation of Veja magazine and its publisher, the Grupo Abril, as part of the «Charlie Waterfall» corruption case which gets underway this week.
The newsweekly appears to have run the fruits of illegal surveillance by the Waterfall gang under the banner of noble, self-reliant and state of the art investigative journalism. This self-representation is perfectly grotesque.
Carta Capital, a scrappy, minor national newsweekly by the founder of the original Veja, Mino Carta, ran a cover story explicitly comparing the group publisher and CEO, Roberto Civita, with Rupert Murdoch.
In response, as it so often has, Veja has taken the position that any criticism of its reporting practices is an authoritan attempt to stifle it — presumably by virtue of trying to convince the reader to read something else other than Veja, an argument than which no neoliberal market doctrine can exist, you would think, if it were true.
The role of the judiciary in restricting or guaranteeing the right to information was debated last Thursday at [the IICS seminar] in S.Paulo.
Legal theorists and journalists point to the dangers to press freedom of rulings that pretend, on the pretext of confidentiality, privacy rights, or right to a fair trial, have prohibited publication of journalistic texts.
Censorship of the Estado de S. Paulo — which for two years has been barred from running articles on Fernando Sarney, son of Senate presiding officer José Sarney – was used as an example of judicial censorship “of the most lamentable kind, coming from a branch of government where it was not to be expected,”said attorney Manuel Alceu Affonso Ferreira at the conference’s third panel, on the use of injunctions to restrict press freedom.
The state’s Opus Dei-supernumerary governor makes like Hillary Clinton before an AIPAC fundraising dinner crowd, suggesting that his strange bedfellows among the media oligarchies are Red-menaced to the point of extinction — also a laughable proposition, but then moral panic is the crudest of sledgehammer strategies there is.
At the opening of the event, Governor Geraldo Alckmin of the PSDB made veiled criticisms to proposals that call for social control of the media.
“Currrently, there is one attempt after another, with pretentious names — democratization of the media, social control, or the like — that all share the same recipe: the overwhelming power of the state and varying doses of populism,” Alckmin said.
As is often the case, the event — again, curiously without much PR — purports to represent journalists but in fact is supported by lobbying groups of media owners, with no representation of journalist guilds or unions.
The IICS has academic ties with the Master em Jornalismo program, run by Alckmin’s spiritual advisor, the consultant Di Marco. The «Innovation» curriculum was developed by a major think-tank push at the University of Navarra — Opus Dei-endowed.
- Grupo Folha
- Associação Nacional de Jornais (ANJ)
- Associação Nacional de Editores de Revista (ANER)
- Jornalistas & Cia
- Instituto Palavra Aberta
- Editora Saraiva