Journalist freedom in Brazil, according the Brazilian journalists

Published: 15 September 2021| Version 2 | DOI: 10.17632/4zt4ztc8v5.2
Mário Messagi jr,


This report summarizes the clustered results of the research on “Freedom of Journalism” (MESSAGI; CARVALHO; BOZZA, 2017), carried out by the Communication and Democracy research group at Universidade Federal do Paraná (UFPR). The survey, with a tool developed by UFPR, was online. This allows national research to be carried out at low cost. The collection of data for the survey about journalistic freedom was done through a link sent by email and publications on trade union websites, portals aimed at journalists and sending a message via email from undergraduate courses of journalism. The survey contains 42 questions and sought to map ways of restricting the right of publication and access to information, over the period of the last 5 years. Ten of the 42 questions were variable: status, gender, age, education, income, areas of activity, main activity of the company where you work, type of content produced, size of the team of journalists you work with and hierarchical relationship with colleagues. The second part dealt with restrictions on publication of information, with questions about censorship and self-censorship and carrying out recommended stories (when the owner of media outlets demands the newsroom to publish something for your own interests). Other forms of restriction, more explicit and direct, were also questioned, such as moral offences and physical violence, against themselves and against colleagues. Two questions were about whether the journalist feels protected from pressure and who would protect him. Who interferes most in journalistic freedom also composed the form. There were two questions that deal with the knowledge of the editorial line professional and the ideological point of view of the vehicle in which he works. Finally, this part of the form ended as a question that serves to test a hypothesis: that the controls often assume a more subtle, organizational feature, exercised by the professional rise in the company. Would the professionals be restrained by the sanctions identified by the Organizational Theory? (BREED, 1955). Is it possible to say that the institutional organization overrides the rules of the profession? The third part of the questionnaire concerned access to information, in a broad way. The research asked how the journalist perceives access to information in all areas: public authorities (Legislative, Executive and Judiciary), at all levels (Federal, Provinces and Towns) and in all sectors (private, third sector, social movements and union). The fourth part measured the perception of journalists on macro-social issues that affect journalistic freedom and that concern the regulation of the area of communication, such as media concentration, radio and TV regulation, presence of politicians as concessionaires of broadcast licenses, participation of churches in the media in Brazil, degree in journalism as a condition to practice the profession and creation of a Federal Council of Journalism.


Steps to reproduce

The form remained open from September 2015 to March 2017, and is therefore a self-applied survey. The first phase of collections reached 1845 responses, online, already eliminating all that did not reach, at least, the variable questions of gender, age, education, income, areas of activity and content produced. Subsequently, with paper application, with supervised self-application, we added 108 more responses, mainly from São Paulo, and excluded all that did not pass at least socio-economic questions. We thus reached 1953 applications. We are, therefore, far from the global goal of the minimum representative per province. By state, the results were uneven. Paraná, for example, almost doubled the target, with 227 collections, of which only 124 were needed. Pernambuco effectively doubled the goal, hitting 83 responses, when only 39 were needed. In these cases, the applications were eliminated by the following criteria: those with the least missing responses (missing) were maintained. In other words, the most complete answers were privileged, to increase the bank's level of confidence in general. When, even after eliminating the less complete answers, the sample was above what was necessary, we chose to remove responses from students in the sample, even though we did not adopt this criterion to exclude responses in general. It is common, in the area, for students to practice the profession, even during college. The research was aimed at those who practice journalism and under what conditions. What really counts is whether the profession is practiced, which is identified when the respondent feels that he is able to respond the research. In this process of elimination, 236 responses were excluded. The sanitation of data, with proportionality after the collection, is done in general by the random elimination of surplus responses. Thus, the research needed to harvest the minimum in each province, but it was below the target in Bahia, Brasília, Espírito Santo, Minas and Rio de Janeiro. In Amapá, Piauí and Roraima, the collection was very close to the target. São Paulo, with 36.39% of the total population, was far below, even with the additional efforts focused on the state: only 35.6% of the necessary quantity was reached, which lowers the confidence of the data in the State to 75%. The result was not entirely unexpected. Due to the size of the provinces’ population, São Paulo would be the main challenge and this was known from the beginning. The response rate in São Paulo was configured as the main problem in the proportionalization of the data, because, in addition to affecting confidence in the province, it would imply proportionalizing all the others by the lowest, bringing down, for example, the number of collections kept in Paraná's sampling plan from 124 to 44. The confidence of the entire bank would be affected. Therefore, we opted not for the random exclusion of cases, but for the random addition, since the statistical effect is the same.


Universidade Federal do Parana


Journalism, Brazil, Freedom of Information