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Reading: Media and Democracy in Brazil


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Media and Democracy in Brazil


Carolina Matos

London School of Economics and Political Science
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This article examines the process of deepening of media democratization in Brazil in a comparative perspective with European countries, assessing the role that mainly public communication systems can have in strengthening national development as well as contributing to provide a wider platform for an international dialogue between advanced democracies and developing societies. Latin American countries have emerged at the dawn of the twenty‐first century with a series of challenges to confront, ranging from coming to terms with their authoritarian past to tackling persistent problems of economic and social inequality, as well as inserting themselves fully in the global economic order. Latin American nations have a weak public sector and are seeking to fortify existing public spaces of debate in order to expand citizens’ information rights and create the means for wider cultural emancipation. It is precisely when public service broadcasters are most vulnerable in Europe that they start to be seen as relevant in other parts of the world. The article looks at the historical evolution of public communications platforms, giving first a general overview of their development in some Latin America countries and their relationship with the public interest, before investigating the Brazilian case in greater depth and in a comparative perspective with the role that public service broadcasting systems have played in European societies. In order to understand the functioning of media systems in Brazil and their relationship to political and economic factors, it is necessary to situate this debate within both local and global specifications, engaging with current globalization debates and cultural imperialism theses, as well as the current political problems of the wider region and the impact of economic underdevelopment on the country’s communication systems.

How to Cite: Matos, C., 2011. Media and Democracy in Brazil. Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture, 8(1), pp.178–196. DOI:
Published on 01 May 2011.
Peer Reviewed


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