5th October 2016
To Whom it May Concern
The Public Media Alliance [PMA] is the largest global association of public broadcasters with more than one hundred members in 57 countries. With a unique global overview of the principles and practice of public media, the PMA recognises the clear link between established systems of public media and effective democracy.
We are following with great interest the situation with regard to the future of Empresa Brasil de Comunicação (EBC). The creation of this public media company represented a significant step towards establishing a public system of modern communication in Brazil. We noted with special interest the instruments of autonomy that were implemented to ensure editorial independence within the company. In all these ways EBC was seen internationally as innovative and many international observers believed that the development of EBC would inspire other countries in Latin America to establish truly public communication systems with clear participatory mechanisms.
The existence of a Board of Trustees (Conselho Curador), with a deliberative role and mandates that provide legal protection against undue interference, including for the chairman of the company, are specific features that mean that EBC was set up in legislature to be a truly public media organisation. Their preservation is now in the hands of the Brazilian National Congress, debating and voting the Provisional Measure MP 744. Some alteration to the law of EBC required by Provisional Measure MP744 would in our view significantly alter the EBC’s public communication pillars.
During the PMA’s recent Global Conference in Montreal, Canada we set aside the time for our unique international network of CEO’s and media academics to discuss the situation evolving in Brazil regarding EBC. The concern of the meeting was noted and shared with delegates at our partner conference PBI 2016.
By this letter, we reaffirm the importance of EBC and its features originally established in the legislation of its creation, especially the Board of Trustees and protected mandates, for the consolidation of a communication system running for the exclusive service of society, taking into account the principle of public-private-state complementarity as the Federal Constitution of Brazil so well establishes for this crucial sector for democracy.
We express our continued support to the principles of public media in Brazil.
Chief Executive Officer