Jean Wyllys: Where is Journalism?

The news coverage of the demonstrations last Sunday and Friday in much of the media, especially Globo and Globo News, seriously confused journalism with propaganda.

Let’s look at some examples: In demonstrations on Sunday (in favour of impeachment), there was live broadcast by these TV channels all day, almost without interruption. The demonstrations on Friday (against impeachment), the focus was in the studio, on the dialogue of the news anchors and reporters, with flashes and brief broadcasts from local demonstrations vying for time with other news.

The framing of the images on Sunday was more favourable and allowed us to see that there were many people, while on Friday, the camera was always too close or too far, producing the opposite effect. In some cities, the images shown were of the moment when people were just arriving and, later, when the demonstration was over, omitting the most important moment: when the demonstration was taking place. On Sunday, it was the featured moment.

On the demonstrations last Sunday ( “spontaneous acts of citizenship”), the protesters were protagonists, or had the right to speak, to say why they were there. The demonstrations on Friday ( “pro-government demonstrations”), the narrative was taken over by the chronicler. And some relevant facts that were part of the news were not told: unlike Sunday, on Friday there were no open turnstiles on the São Paulo subway; on the contrary, people who wanted to travel by metro found a shortage of change when they tried to buy tickets.

However, the most embarrassing moment was when former President Lula began his speech. “We have problems with the audio, we will ask our reporter to tell what’s going on.” As well? You can love or hate Lula, believe what he says or not, or you can (as I hope you do!) make a critical reading, but you are all entitled to hear it! How is it possible that his speech was not broadcast live? What is the criterion of “news”? (It is worth pointing out: Band News did broadcast the speech, at least the audience of that channel had its right to information respected). We spent two days watching non-stop on television, in continuous repetition like in old cinema, the private conversations of former President (kind of an unintentional Big Brother, in which he did not know he was participating) and now we have no right, as an audience, public and citizens, to listen to what he says at a rally with about one hundred thousand people in the Avenida Paulista? is not news?

What is the fear? To let people see it and draw their conclusions by themselves! Because, unlike in the narrative of the right-wing opposition that the main media channels tries to install, and also on the Pro-Government side, there are not only two sides to this story. The reality is much more complex and we can not reduce the current situation to a choice between joining the Government and adherence to the traditional right-wing. There are many people who, like me, in left-wing opposition to the government of Dilma Rousseff but is against impeachment because, to date, there is no concrete evidence to justify this process, which is being driven illegitimately by a Congress Speaker who is being investigated by the Supreme Court for corruption and money laundering. And also in favour of democracy! Many of these people were on the streets on Friday and both the media and many Government supporters are wrong to believe that all the protesters were supporters of the Government and the PT (Workers Party). These voices are not heard on the evening news, but they exist.

I see no problem in the fact that each media channel has a political position. Most countries have newspapers of the left and right (in Brazil, unfortunately, we don’t have this pluralism), but what we can not have is a skewed narrative which does not leave room for news. Journalism must inform and then if you want, you can give your opinion, making clear what is opinion. It is the difference between news, columns and editorials.

My question is: Where’s the news? Where is journalism?

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[Fotos: NINJA e Jornalistas Livres]