Folha celebrated 90 years of publishing this week. Attending their birthday party were all the top names of Brazil, including President Dilma Rousseff. (Use CHROME and Google Translate if your Portuguese is rusty.)
As expected, even the political figures who had major disagreements with the press pointed out that a free press is necessary for democracy to survive and grow.
Dilma went further to say that being a journalist is an act of courage.
“Censorship forced the first Brazilian newspaper to be printed in London in 1808,” she said.
Dilma added that circulating the newspaper De Libero Badaro at that time by journalist Vladimir Herzog in Brazil was an act of courage.
“Free, pluralistic and investigative press is essential for democracy in a country like ours.”
For the president and anyone over the age of 40, the lessons of dictatorships are personal. It wasn’t until 1985 when the dictatorship was overthrown for a democracy in Brazil.
The protection of civil and political rights remains a top priority for many in the leadership and especially among the news media.
The president noted that even when the media are critical of her and her policies, she prefers the voices criticism from a free press to silence imposed by the dictatorships.
A free press and investigative pluralism, it is essential to democracy in a country like ours, which besides being a continental country, is a country that embraces cultural differences despite our unit. A government must learn to live with the criticism of the newspapers to have a real commitment to democracy. Because democracy demands above this contradiction, and I repeat again: the civilized coexistence, with the multiplicity of opinions, beliefs and aspirations.
And unlike many other politicians who mouth the words of support for free and independent media, I really think Dilma means it.
Of course we will have to see how she handle the whole Social Control thing started by former president Lula. For now Dilma is not even putting the plan on the stove let alone the back burner. There are still leading members of the ruling PT that would like to keep the plan alive but who so far have been held back by a practical president.