Note from BW of Brazil: It cannot be underestimated the dominance of the media in the formation of opinions, and how peoples and nations see themselves. In the case of people who are minorities in this media, as is the case of Afro-Brazilians, this lack of representation has had catastrophic consequences on the development of black identity. As millions upon millions of Brazilians tune into to television stations such as Globo, SBT, Record, Band and others, a dominant discourse of what constitutes good, bad, desirable, undesirable, beautiful, ugly, rich and poor is divulged into homes on a daily basis and thus influencing ideas and concepts and undermining the consciousness-raising efforts of the black population. It is for this reason that there have long been calls for the democratization of the mass media. Whereas in past decades, the media’s discourse was for the most part accepted among a large proportion of the population at large, nowadays, more and more important voices are amplifying the debate on this topic. Although the annual Latinidades Festival took place in the last week of July, the lessons and debates brought to the forefront are still relevant, as we see in the material below.
“Traditional media massacres our black identity,” says host
Promotion of racial equality in the media is featured in the agenda of Latinidades Festival in Brasília (DF)
By Cristiane Sampaio
The promotion of democracy and racial and gender equality is at the heart of the discussions of Festival Latinidades 2016, the scheduling of which took place in the last week of July, in Brasília (DF). In the debate on Tuesday (26) at the National Museum, speakers highlighted the need to work with communication as a strategic area in the promotion of human rights of the população negra (black population) in Brazil.
The theme of communication is the thematic sphere around which orbits the discussions of this year’s event, with the participation of activists of the Movimento Negro (black movement) in various parts of the country.
TV host Luciana Barreto, of TV Brasil, stressed the importance of the presence of black journalists in newsrooms, guaranteeing resistance against the violation of rights. She, who acts as an anchor of Repórter Brasil Tarde, emphasized, among other things, the necessity of respecting identidade negra (black identity) in journalistic audiovisual production.
“In the beginning, it was not easy and I had to talk contractually that I didn’t want to mess with my hair. The other day I received a message from a student of journalism who said a college professor had said that never could a “black power” (afro) be an anchor because the hair draws much attention and the journalist has to be discreet. It is amazing how the university still reproduces racism. When I say that a black power cannot be an anchor, I say that a negra (black woman) cannot be an anchor, unless she violates her own identity. The traditional media does this all the time and massacres our black identity,” she said.
In an interview with Brasil de Fato, she talked about the necessity of establishing conflict in newsrooms on the invisibility of guidelines that relate to the rights of the black population.
“We cannot be silent. I have always done this at work and I’m accustomed to saying that my chief editor ’empreteceu’ (blackened) with time. He is a guy from south zone Rio and white, with all the experience of those who grew up in this context, but I had so much resistance and proposed new views, he was ceding. Interestingly, we try to make the other reflect on this matter because, in the collision process, he’ll have to read to be able to base his defense and counter-argue. Then it turns out that he can’t escape from the human rights agenda because, if it’s not a person that really hates this question, he will end up ceding. Overall, what we have most in newsrooms is ignorance, are journalists with a limited worldview. So, establishing the conflict is critical because it forces the other to read and learn, then the agenda grows. This is fundamental in the process of democratization of media,” reflects the host.
For Mestre TC, one of the debaters of the event, communication has a role dating back to ancestrality and is fundamental in the empowerment process of the black population. “We need to think of it as a right and increasingly today also as something that has the same importance as education and other areas,” she said.
Founder of the Casa de Cultura Tainã and Rede Mocambos, that works with free software targeted at quilombola (maroon society inhabitants), indigenous and periphery communities, it develops a work that enables digital storage, the formation of archived and network distribution. The actions have been being developed for 15 years.
“Everywhere where our people are is our place too; it’s a place we are discussing our rights. Communication empowers anyone, so we need to take hold of this and make it to be ours too. It has tools that can be used to enhance our struggles,” she said, emphasizing the need to of giving elasticity to this type of action.
Agenda of struggle
Journalist Juliana Cézar Nunes of Empresa Brasil de Comunicação (EBC), pointed out that there is a strategic afrocentrada (Afrocentric) agenda to be executed in the country in the area of communications with multi-faceted guidelines.
“There are many challenges in ensuring public policies of communication to ensure visibility of the black population in the traditional media with dignity. One of them is that the media that violate rights go through a process of concession review. This is an old demand of the movement of black women,” she said.
She, who is executive secretary of the Board of Trustees of EBC and former coordinator of Agência Brasil and Radioagência Nacional also puts public communication on the list of priorities of the referred agenda. “We want to guarantee this communication because we believe that it is a democratic and strategic space and has mechanisms of social control, monitoring and participation. It’s a system that can always be improved, of course, but must above all be guaranteed,” she argued, noting that the sector runs risks in the current national political context.
Another point emphasized by the journalist is the need to encourage mídia negra (black media). “We need a public policy that encourages this segment, which allows communication in black communities, quilombolas, etc. The Brazilian government has already funded to private media with considerable volumes and the vehicles of black media produced by black people and in a universe of experiências negras (black experiences), they must also receive this injection of funds, which, in fact, are ours, of Brazilian society Brazilian. There’s a much broader struggle ahead, and Festival Latinidades contributes for us to accumulate forces in he senses of tackling this agenda,” she added.