Note from BW of Brazil: Over the course a little more than three years that this blog has existed, the issue of the extreme under-representation of Afro-Brazilians on the airwaves has been a consistent theme. The topic is not new and anyone who looks at Brazil’s mass media with a critical eye will note the overwhelming whiteness or European appearance of the vast majority of television personalities, actors, journalists, etc. Journalist Luciana Barreto, one of the few black faces that can be seen in news journalism, spoke out in a video recorded about a month ago. Today, we highlight one of the principal reasons for this slanted representation of the Brazilian population. Suffice it to say, we cannot really expect black women to be accurately portrayed in a television series created by a white male, as was the case in the recent controversy surrounding the series Sexo e as negas. In the same way, when the country’s overall media is concentrated in the hands of a few families, how diverse should one really expect the media to be? Needless to say the owners of Brazil’s media are all white and rich…very rich!!!
Media concentration is a factory of billionaires
Courtesy of Brasil 247
Of the 46 Brazilian billionaires, no less than six (equivalent to 13% of the Forbes list) are connected to the media. They are: the brothers Roberto Irineu Marinho, João Roberto Marinho and José Roberto Marinho, of Globo TV, Roberto Civita, of the publisher Abril, Silvio Santos, of SBT-TV, and Edir Macedo of Record TV. Could it be that Rui Falcão, PT (Workers’ Party) President was right in saying that “half a dozen families” control information in the country?
The Workers’ Party is preparing for war. It wants to collect signatures to convince the government of President Dilma and the National Congress to vote on a Media Law, which breaks up the ownership of the media in the country and democratize information. According to Rui Falcão, president of the party, a “half dozen families have a media monopoly in Brazil.” The newspaper Estado de S. Paulo, in turn, condemns the PT of the project, stating that it was a disguised censorship of democratization.
Be that as it may, the fact is that the high media concentration in Brazil has been a billionaire production plant. According to the Forbes list released this week, Brazil has 46 people with wealth of over US$1 billion. Of these, six are connected to the media. The list of media billionaires is led by Roberto Irineu Marinho, João Roberto Marinho and José Roberto Marinho, the first two with US$8.7 billion and the third with US$8.6 billion. Their fortunes, together, total US$26 billion, more than the US$17.8 billion of Jorge Paulo Lemann, owner of Ambev and richest man in Brazil.
Behind them appears Roberto Civita, owner of the publisher Abril with US$4.9 billion, Silvio Santos, owner of SBT, with US$1.3 billion, and Edir Macedo, owner of Record, with US$1.1 billion. And this is without even mentioning other families, such as Frias, of Folha, and the Saads, of Bandeirantes TV, who may also have billionaire assets but were not mapped by Forbes.
The question is: Is this high concentration of power good for Brazil?
Note from BW of Brazil: Following up on that report, recently information was released revealing that between 2000 and 2013 state investment in advertising totaled R$15.7 billion, of which these media families alone received nearly R$9.5 billion. Can you say “media monopoly”?
Media barons command official publicity
Courtesy of Brasil 24/7
A survey on investment of state enterprises in advertising, published with political bias by the Folha de S. Paulo (newspaper) on Wednesday, reveals that there is still a large concentration of media groups that belong to so-called media families; only the companies linked to the Globo group, the Marinho brothers, received more than R$5 billion (US$1.88 billion); then came the stations of Bishop Edir Macedo (R$1.3 billion or US$490 million), Silvio Santos (R$1.2 billion or US$450 million) and Johnny Saad (R$1 billion or US$380 million); the publisher Abril, of the Civita family, with R$523 million (or US$196 million) and Folha itself, of Otávio Frias, took R$206 million (or US$77.4 million), while its competitor Estado de S. Paulo (newspaper), of the Mesquita family, was R$188 million (or US$70.6 million); in the internet chapter, Folha politicizes the debate and questions investments in vehicles such as 24/7 (news site).
A report published on Wednesday Folha de S. Paulo reveals the amount invested by state enterprises in advertising in recent years. Between 2000 and 2013 it was R$15.7 billion.
The good news is that in the Lula and Dilma governments, there was a greater devolution of advertising investments. By 2003, just over 4,000 media outlets received media investment. This number reached its record in 2013, when 10,817 vehicles, including newspapers and regional radio stations benefitting.
The bad news is that there is still a large concentration of business resources related to so-called media families, like the Marinhos, the Civitas, the Mesquitas and the Friases themselves that edit Folha.
The case of Globo is the most striking. No less than R$5.3 billion was invested in vehicles connected to the Marinho brothers, such as TV Globo, Radio Globo, Editora Globo that publishes Época magazine, and the newspaper Valor Econômico (a partnership with Folha).
Then appear other television stations, such as Record, of Bishop Edir Macedo (R$1.3 billion), SBT, of Silvio Santos (R$1.2 billion) and Bandeirantes of Johnny Saad (R$1 billion).
Newspapers, led by Folha, also received a significant portion of the advertising investment. Folha had R$206 million, followed by the Estado de S. Paulo, with R$179 million. In magazines, Editora Abril stands out, with R$523 million, and Editora Três, that edits Istoé magazine, with R$179 million. The Publisher Editora Confiança, which publishes Carta Capital magazine, received R$44 million.
The report Wednesday will expand the debate in the country about the need for devolution of advertising investments and a Media Law, which prevents excessive power in the hands of a few families who no longer control the information in the country, but are nostalgic of a past where there was less competition.