Just ran across this from the Brazilian senate. The translation is courtesy of the WORD 2007 add-in, so it is rough.
Bottom line, Brazil is about to define a journalist as someone with an advanced degree in journalism. The new legislation offers a grandfather clause (“the requirement do not apply to those who demonstrate the effective exercise of the profession or to journalists provisioned”) but it seems to apply to those entering the field.
It appears the action is being taken at the request of the journalists’ union.
I’ll try to find out more later.
PROPOSAL DETERMINES DIPLOMA REQUIREMENT FOR JOURNALIST ADVANCES IN THE SENATE
Text approved by the Commission Constitution and justice exempts journalists provisioned or proven exercise of the profession
The Commission Constitution and justice (CCJ) the Senate approved this Wednesday (02), proposed amendment the Constitution (PEC 33/09) stating that the profession of journalist is custodial who has higher diploma course in journalism. In accordance with the text, the rule is optional to so-called “collaborators”, which are texts technical, scientific or cultural. In addition, the requirement do not apply to those who demonstrate the effective exercise of the profession or to journalists provisioned.
“We are enlightening this question, at the request of 80,000 professional journalists throughout the country. The diploma is important for the exercise of that function, “said Senator Eduardo Azeredo (PSDB-mg). The PEC, Senator Antonio Carlos Valadares (PSB), is now to be voted on by the plenary of the Senate.
So why is this bad news?
This is the government setting criteria as to who can be a journalist. The control of who can be a journalist can just as easily be turned around to say who cannot be a journalist. China already uses its rules of who can/cannot be a journalist to get rid of pesky reporters and editors who push the envelope and challenge the state censors.
From an American perspective, thanks to the First Amendment of the Constitution, the government should have no role in determining who can and can’t report the news. Fair and honest reporting of the facts and context of a story along with well-crafted words should be enough.
For more discussion on this, go to the SPJ International Journalism Committee blog.