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Mexico Stands Up to Its Globo | Conversa Afiada


I am not a big fan of the noisy Conversa Afiada –brainchild of TV Record reporter PHA — but I thank it for tipping me off to an important story from Mexico, as reported by the indomitable Carmen Aristegui, ex-CNN Español.

Regulatory agencies are attempting to rein in Televisa and its 75% lock on the Mexican broadcast media market.

Let me present an excerpt from the more technical treatment of the historic trust-busting, rule-changing decrees and resolutions, followed by an analysis by PHA, among whose virtues is an understanding of the parallels between Brazilian Globo and Mexican Televisa — both of them attempted stealers of elections — and of the activities of the Mexican magnate Carlos Slim in Brazil.

Televisa is a “dominant economic agent,” rules Ifetel

“The resolution announced yesterday by the Federal Institue of Telecommunications (IFT) imposes various and significant measures, conditions and restrictions on the broadcasting business of the Televisa Group,” the company recognizes.

IFTel declared Televisa a dominant economic agent in the broadcasting market and will subject it to a series of regulatory measures.

The empire of Emilio Azcárraga Jean will be obliged to share infrastructure, turn over to IFTel the terms and conditions of its advertising broadcasts and will not be allowed to acquire exclusive transmission rights in Mexico.

The company acknowledged that “all of these resolutions and actions of the IFT affect the Televisa Group in many areas related to its broadcasting and pay TV businesses, and we will evaluate the scope and impact in a case by case manner, in terms of its operating results, activities and businesses.

And the company warned: “As a result of the size of the declaration of dominance, with its 650 pages and of the complexity of these resolutions and proclamations, we will closely analyze any measure (of a legal, commercial or other nature) that Televisa must take in implementing them.”

Categorizing Televisa as a dominant economic actor in the telecommunications sector imposes the following conditions on its businesses:

Sharing of Infrastructure: Grupo Televisa will be required to place its broadcasting infrastructure at the disposition of third parties in a non-discriminatory, non-exclusive manner, with the exception of broadcasters broadcasters that have 12 MHz or more of broadcast spectrum in the affected region. This infrastructure includes, among other things, non-electronic components of the transmitters, right of way, towers, masts, energy sources and air conditioning systems. This measure aims to expedite the entry of new broadcasters into the market.

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Softly, With a Big Stick | Rio’s Militias Today


Add to the necessary new readings list:

This book is the result of research performed by the State University of Rio de Janeiro’s Violence Laboratory, with support from the Heinrich Böll Foundation.

The objective of this study is to trace the evolution of the militia phenomenon in Rio de Janeiro, documenting changes to their structure and composition, tracing their territorial extent, and analyzing their profitability, their modus operandi, their perceived legitimacy and their community relations.

As the title suggests — no sapatinho means “wearing baby booties” or, if you will, walking softly with your big stick — these parapolitical groups have adjusted their management practices and continue to thrive.

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Voz do Brasil | «Authoritarian Hangover»?

Comunique-se reports

One of Brazil’s oldest radio programs, «A Voz do Brasil», is an authoritarian hangover, and commercial radio stations should not be required to air its content.

Broadcasters are also chronically unhappy with the law requiring them to make way for unpaid election campaigning during this year’s election cycle — a step in the direction of election reform, although not a terribly effective one so long as the more fundamental reform of campaign is not enacted and empowered.

This proposition was the subject of heated debate at an August 23 event at the ESPM — Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing — among the directors of radio stations Bandeirantes, Estadão/ESPN and Jovem Pan.

Rodrigo Neves, Acácio Costa and Paulo Machado de Carvalho Neto, respectively, argued that requiring stations to air this content interferes with the services the stations provide.

A «heated debate» in which all participants agree on the fundamental question? Continue reading

Aristegui | MVS Loses Frequency

Proceso magazine reports:

In a classic end-of-mandate move, Mexican president Felipe Calderón, acting through his communications and transportation minister, Dionisio Pérez Jácome, has decided to benefit the Televisa media group by refusing to renew the 2.5 GHz bandwidth concessions  previously awarded to MVS Comunicaciones.

MVS broadcasts the daily radio program of CNN Español anchor Carmen Aristegui, author of remarkable investigative reporting on election fraud in 2006, among other notable work — the Hildebrando and ChoicePoint scandals, for example. She worked at W Radio until 2003, when her contract was not renewed.

She was fired  for alleged ethical lapses by MVS in 2011 — she had asked questions about the alleged alcoholism of Mexico’s president. She returned to MVS with her own branded channel earlier this year, and was named a knight commander by the French just this summer.

Experts contacted by Proceso say that MVS, owned by the Vargas family, lost the spectrum after having failed to prove its economic viability and its capacity to bring broadband Internet access to a large portion of the population. With the restructuring of the concession, it is quite clear that the only party to benefit will be the monopolistic consortium controlled by Emilio Azcárraga Jean.

The company has operated at 2.5 GHz since 2002, one reads. The concession is valued at some US$ 58 billion over the next 20 years. Continue reading

Nelson Pretto | Why No Brazilian Laptop Per Child?

Why has the One Laptop Per Child | OLPC program apparently failed to take root in Brazil? I have always assumed a link between Brazilian intransigence and vicious lobbying by the chief Big Tech philanthropic foundation.

In any case, Nelson Pretto of Terra Magazine offers the following analysis. Pretto is professor of education at the Federal University of Bahia and a member of the Bahian Academy of Sciences.

Pretto took part in the panel on promotion of domestically produced content and technology at the recent Brazilian Internet Forum II.

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Civita Dei | Notes on The Brazilian Education Lobby

Brasil Escola — an educational publication of Brazil’s Record media group — observes, correctly, a major source of difficulty in trying to cover, in any comprehensive way, the actions of corporate, private and third-sector lobbies, and combinations thereof.

The trouble is that the lobbying industry here is just about as unregulated as Liberty Valence. I translate:

The term “lobby” is frequently heard in the political milieu. Sadly, however, most people hold an incorrect view of the term’s meaning.

First of all, we should understand that lobbying is nothing more than the bringing of political pressure by groups seeking to influence official policy for their own ends, whether openly or in secret.

Lobbying is a very natural activity, something we all do. Examples include a son trying to get his father to increase his allowance, or a union debating improved working conditions.  In the U.S., lobbying is openly recognized  and even regulated by law. Lobbying is acknowledged as an important part of the political process.

Some experts believe that lobbying should not sneak in  through the back door, which only supports accusations of improprieties.  According to Maria Coeli Simões Pires, secretary of regional development and urban policy for the government of Minas Gerais, there are no angels in the political world, and no demons as well, merely interests, chief of which are economic interests. Viewed this way, lobbying must unlink itself from illegalities, since defending special interests is not only not illegal but rather a fundamental right.

First of all, in the case of «edutainment» policy, what groups seek to influence federal, state and local education policy in Brazil, and what are their respective agenda and tactics? The answer involves sophisticated governance structures set up to facilitate private- and third-sector collaboration with municipal, state, and federal bodies and private enterprise.

«Program, get your program, you can’t tell the players without a program!”

Selecting key-man nodes in publicly available social networks and traversing their relationships — above, aa chain leading to international philanthropy by Sylvan Laureate — is a legitimate method, but also very labor-intensive.

I propose using automated «beat-building» techniques to obrain an overview of the sector.

First, relevant and useful Web sites are selected and crawled, breadth-firt — using NaviCrawler or WIRE, in my case — and a link ecology analysis is performed, using Pajek, Gephi and yEd.

Then, using yEd, basic social network characteristics can be diagrammed and pondered visually.

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Vulture Culture | An Impromptu Link Sociology

Item: SEC Launches Inquiry Aimed at Private Equity.

Federal regulators have launched a wide-ranging inquiry into the private-equity industry that examines how firms value their investments, among other matters.

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s enforcement division sent letters to private-equity firms of various sizes in early December as part of an “informal inquiry,” according to the letter and people familiar with the matter.

In response, as PR Watch reports, private equity firms from all over the world have mounted a PR campaign using viral strategies to polish the tarnished public image of the sector as a flock of “vulture investors.”

My bookshelf contains the second edition of The Vulture Investors: The Winners and Losers of the Great American Bankruptcy Feeding Frenzy — published in 2000. There is also a really badly written financial thriller with a similar title.

At any rate, this mobilization of a PR rapid response team  presents a unique opportunity to track the development of a viral campaign from brainstorm to viral firestorm, in case of success.

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