BRAZIL: UNLIMITED POSSIBILITIES FOR SOUTH-SOUTH COMMUNICATIONSBrazil, Featured, Headlines, IBSA-featured, Opinion Wednesday, October 12th, 2011
By Helena Chagas (*)
BRASILIA, Oct (IPS) The power of the media has grown enormously across the world. The question of access to the new forms of information and communications is especially urgent in Brazil, which is growing increasingly prominent among the emerging nations because of its economic status and especially the entrance of great numbers of its population into the middle class and the ranks of consumers.
In an irreversible process, Brazilians, who now enjoy better living conditions and higher incomes, now want more education, more information, and greater participation in decision-making. At the centre of a process of political emancipation in recent years, Brazilian citizens are more demanding in terms of the information they receive from the media. With the advent of the Internet they have a wider range of information and more forms than they ever imagined to express their opinions and organise themselves socially.
This alone would already signal the need for a profound debate about the organisation of the communications sector, which is still regulated by antiquated and obsolete laws that have not kept pace with the technological evolution or the political and social emancipation of Brazilian citizens.
It is not only in Brazil but also in much of the world, especially the so-called developing countries, that the technological revolution has generated contradictions that have directly effected the communications media. In addition to the issue of democratic access to all information and to the shared and autonomous production of various forms of communication, the technological convergence has sharpened contradictions between important economic sectors, including telecommunications and broadcasting.
The need to overcome these contradictions is driving the discussion on the reorganising of the sector in various parts of the world, raising the possibility of a broadening of the debate and democratic participation of a wide range of sectors of society. Indeed this is already underway.
In a landscape in which Brazil is contributing to the configuration of a new global order, one more inclusive and balanced, and with the rise of new modes of dialogue and South-South cooperation -among developing countries- communications is emerging as the essential tool in the fight against inequality and for the promotion of access to information and socioeconomic opportunities.
The possibilities for South-South cooperation in the area of communications are vast. This cooperation must give priority not to one-way “development assistance” but instead to the building of horizontal associations characterised by solidarity, non-conditionality, and the sharing of responsibility. Above all, it must begin from the fundamental premise that it is up to the developing countries to shape their communications media and their messages according to their realities, needs, and aspirations.
(*) Helena Chagas is Brazil’s Minister of Social Communication.
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