The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) expresses its concern at the rapidly unfolding political events in Brazil which constitute an attack on democracy and due process. We express solidarity with the people of Brazil in general and in particular with our friends and colleagues, including APC organisational member Nupef, the Brazilian Internet Steering Group (CGI.br) and the many Brazilian civil society organisations we work with.
In particular, we are deeply concerned how Brazil’s media conglomerates are implicated in the unfolding events, including through online channels and their use of social media. APC believes that the media should serve the public interest, both online and offline, and that it is the cornerstone of public debate, accountability and transparency. The internet is a critical platform for alternative media voices, and in this regard APC encourages policy and regulation that supports an open internet and media diversity. Alternative views on the crisis have been made available through social media channels. But overall, with very few exceptions, media both in and outside Brazil has provided a distorted picture of the situation, largely supportive of the attempts to oust President Dilma Rousseff
Carlos Afonso, a long-standing participant in APC and founder of Nupef, calls this “a coup d’Etat without (so far) military involvement”. “A major violation of human rights is happening right now, with an opposition coalition trying to throw President Rousseff from power even though she has not a single accusation of dishonesty or fraud against her proven,” he says.
APC is also dismayed by reports of how the judicial system is involved in the crisis, and is being used to support political change in the country, rather than behaving impartially. We call for a return to the principles of democracy and due process sustained by the country’s Constitution and laws. It is only through Constitutional guarantees that uphold democracy, which ensure accountability and transparency, and a plural and free media acting in the public interest, that democracy can be protected.
APC is a member-driven organisation with over 70 members from 36 countries across the world, mostly from developing countries. Our mission is to empower and support organisations, social movements and individuals in and through the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to build strategic communities and initiatives for the purpose of making meaningful contributions to equitable human development, social justice, participatory political processes and environmental sustainability. One of our founding members was the Brazilian Institute of Social Analysis and Economics (IBASE), started by visionary Brazilian social activist Herbert de Souza. APC’s Betinho Communications Prize celebrates his life and work.
As part of its work on economic, social and cultural rights and the internet, APC will be making a presentation on the internet and the right to culture in Brazil at the upcoming 157th ordinary session of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). Amongst other issues to do with the internet and culture, we will emphasize the link between democracy and media diversity, and the critical role of the internet in this regard.
For more background on the unfolding crisis in Brazil, please read:
- Brazil is engulfed by ruling class corruption and a dangerous subversion of democracy
- Your guide to understanding Brazil’s political crisis
- A coup is in the air – the plot to unsettle Rousseff, Lula and Brasil
- Democracy on the edge of chaos and the dangers of legal disorder
Note: The content of this statement was updated on 31 March, 2016.