[Julio Cesar Lemes de Castro; J. C. L. Castro; Castro, Julio Cesar Lemes de; Castro, J. C. L.]

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Producteurs d'Information Publique et Intérêt Public

Organização: Centre de Recherche Interuniversitaire sur la Communication, l'Information et la Société (CRICIS), Université du Québec à Montréal
Local: Montreal (Canada)
Data: 11 de julho de 2015

Social media and public interest: an alternative to mainstream journalism in Brazil


Resumo: Media industry in Brazil was always characterized by a huge ownership concentration in a handful of companies. Besides that, in several moments of history media corporations acted in concert, sharing the same frame of reference. In the past, they confronted nationalist governments and supported the military coup of 1964. More recently, they have been promoting a neoliberal agenda and opposing the left-leaning governments, led by the Workers’ Party, who won the last four presidential elections, despite the fact that these governments adopt a rather conciliatory tone. Since mainstream media has lately become more homogeneous ideologically, experienced journalists who were unable or unwilling to maintain a post there decided to build a presence in the blogosphere, along with people who did not have a background in journalism but wanted to express different viewpoints as well. Others turned to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, which are also used to reverberate the independent blogs and the few alternative voices still found in hegemonic media. The flexibility of the Internet and the interpretative and authorial character of these interventions give them the features of a kind of information guerrilla. All in all, these sectors of social media, which collaborate often among themselves and earn the recognition of their readership, came to represent public interest in various ways. In a context in which Brazilian mainstream journalism, like what happens in other Latin American countries, reflects mainly the concerns of an economic elite headed by the financial capital, it is especially through social media that other perspectives may be manifested and disseminated and their supporters may mobilize themselves and articulate their action. Moreover, if mainstream journalism is characterized by a relative uniformity, the channels offered by Internet represent the possibility of securing some degree of pluralism, even though there is a big discrepancy between the weight of media corporations and of the outlets which oppose them. Finally, considering that mainstream journalism ultimately understands the role of watchdog as a tool to further the interest of the market, instead of the public at large, and not seldom sacrifices professional patterns of conduct in this endeavor, there is a need for watchdogs of watchdogs. In a certain way, progressive social media is called to perform this function nowadays in Brazil, exerting a permanent “hermeneutics of suspicion” (Ricœur) vis-à-vis mainstream journalism, through indictments and opinions, besides offering criticism to the government from the left.

Palavras-chave: social media, blogs, social networks, journalism, neoliberalism, Brazil.

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