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Trade unionists with ties to the PT will create a social communications network

By: DANIEL RONCAGLIA | Folha de S. Paulo
Via Brasilianas.Org.

Translation: C. Brayton

Trade unions with ties to the labor federation CUT and to the PT have spent the last months mounting a communication network with access to TV and radio stations, magazines, newspapers, and Internet news sites.

The project, in the works since the 1980s, hopes to reach “people who are dissatisfied with what they receive from the commercial media,” as founders of the site Rede Brasil Atual say.

Sidebar: After Rosemary and Valério scandals break, Lula only grants interviews to TVT.

This is a change in behavior: the classic Lula move during his second term in office was to stand right in the middle of a journalistic scrum and doggedly move the ball down the field for a try. Lula did a lot of the heavy lifting required to relieve his government of the burden of scandal.

Is there a new stragegy? Kirchner in Argentina has been known to boycott reporters from unfriendly papers, and Dilma of Brazil recently cancelled abruptly on a conference of media executives. Worse: her treasury minister turned on his heel and followed her, with not a word of explanation.

The network will extend beyond the traditional model of trade union journalism, producing content for the general public. The operation is estimated to cost R$800,000 a month and will employ 170 journalists.

Hire a translator so you can reach the English-speaking world, like Al-Jazeera or Pravda in Portuguese.

Another axis of cooperation behind this constellation of content producers is the World Social Forum and the internation editions of Le Monde Diplomatique, although the relationship is not as close as it once was.

Caption: Lula during an interview with TVT in November in which he celebrated the expansion of the broadcaster he helped to create.

“TVT, God willing, will evolve rapidly,” Lula said. “Let’s use the Paulista tower to celebrate.” In 2013, an antenna installed atop a building along the downtown avenue will make the TVT open to air signal available to viewers in the greater São Paulo metro area.

At the same event, Lula declined to comment on the federal police operation involving  Rosemary Noronha, tapped by Lula in 2005 to run the federal presidency’s office in São Paulo.

In August of this year, the SCCT Foundation and its principal partners, the Metalworkers of ABC and the Bank Tellers of São Paulo, inaugurated Radio Brasil Today, with three repeaters.

FM concessions for repeaters in Mogi das Cruzes (greater metro area), Bertioga (coastal São Paulo) and Pirangi (inland São Paulo) were granted in 2009, with the active support of then-President  Lula.

The original request for a broadcast license was made in 1987, also by Lula, who was a federal congressmember at the time.

“Our foundation and CUT have a solid partnership for the exchange of content. Neither the PT nor any other political party will have any involvement in the project,” says Metalworkers spokesman and foundation president Valter Sanches.

The caveat is explained by the prevalent criticism — heard from both sides of the political spectrum — that the government is trying to stifle or shout down independent voices, like some enormous tropical Big Brother.

Lucky for such domestic critics that the Dilma government shows signs of restructuring the sector in what you might call a “gradualist” or “evolutionary” manner — giving small, regional news organizations a leg up in their efforts to compete rather than confiscating and distributing the spoils by redistributing concessions according to a central plan. Dilma is neither Hugo nor Cristina, in this area at least.

The fact is that big Brazilian TV does not serve cities and regions well.

Complicating the scenario is the fact that so many Brazilian politicians illegally own or control their own news media outlets — often, Globo regional retransmitters, in fact.

The foundation began operating TVT, which has a UHF repeater in Mogi das Cruzes, in 2010. Another repeater is being installed in São Caetano do Sul. R$ 15 million were invested in the creation of the channel.

How was it funded and by whom? I would have to look that up in the commercial register. Clickety clack. Is it NIRE No. 35215233548? With R$ 11,000 in working capital? Or perhaps a firm with the same name headquartered in Alphaville?

The insanely difficult process of obtaining this sort of information online would make Jakob Nielsen roll over in his grave … if he were dead. “Please register.” You register. “This CPF is already registered, type password.” You forgot your password, and press “retrieve password.” “There is no account registered to that CPF number. Please register.”

The Web site TVT has published more than 4,500 videos.

YouTube counts 5,394.

The trade unions say their objective is to create “a major national network.”

Another network participant is Rede Brasil Atual — Brazil Today –whose site reportedly receives 330,000 unique visitors per month. The news service supplies content for sites and blogs aligned with the PT.

The program “ABCD Maior”is produced at TVT’s studios in  São Bernardo do Campo.

The partners have published the monthly Revista do Brasil, circulation 380,000, since 2006.

The site of this PT-TV project overlaps to a significant degree with other self-styled “progressive” Web-based news and information sites — dubbed by their adversaries “the dirty blogs.”



It is always encouraging to discover that link data from broad, intensive crawling is consistent with thematic consistencies at the content level. Maybe focused crawling is an art of the possible after all.