Saturday, April 30th, 2016 at 1:16pm

Brazil: Behind the Dilma Rousseff impeachment story

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Audiences around the world have seen the images from the Brazilian streets – millions of demonstrators, for and against the president, in dozens of cities, in the biggest political protests in the country’s history.

But is the story really about corruption, and the rampant money laundering of those involved in the Petrobras scandal, because if it is – then how is the main opposition party, many of whose own members have been implicated, in a position to impeach President Dilma Rousseff?

Or is this the story of a political power struggle? And how much of it is being driven by Brazilian media barons, who are conservative and whose ideological hostility to Rousseff’s Workers’ Party is no secret?

Brazil’s most influential broadcast and print outlets – like Globo, Abril and Folha – are media powerhouses owned by a handful of the country’s richest families.

Those outlets have been called out for their selective and strategic coverage of this impeachment story and accused of trying to use the corruption scandal to unseat a government that 50 million Brazilians voted for less than two years ago.

In an attempt to change the narrative, President Rousseff held a private media briefing with journalists from major international outlets – letting them know that there is more to this story – and its coverage – than meets the eye.

We analyse coverage of the impeachment vote against President Rousseff, the political power struggle behind it, and the media powerhouses shaping the Brazilian news narrative.

Talking us through the Brazil impeachment story are: Fabio Zanini, political editor, Folha de São Paulo; Alex Cuadros, journalist and author of Brazillionaires; Olga Bailey, lecturer, Nottingham Trent University; and Jairo Lugo-Ocando, professor of journalism, University of Sheffield.

Other stories on our radar this week: More murders in Bangladesh, an English language professor and the editor of a gay rights advocacy magazine are the latest victims; Dozens of journalists are arrested in Cairo as Egypt moves to quell protests; and days after the Panama Papers revelations two whistleblowers and a journalist responsible for the 2014 Luxembourg Leaks story are facing trial.

Messaging the news

More people are now using mobile messaging apps like Telegram, Whatsapp, WeChat and Kakao Talk than social media networks like Facebook, Twitter and Weibo. News outlets have cottoned on to the trend and are messaging headlines directly to your phone.

But there’s more to look out for: rumours, propaganda and even some political discussions that you cannot have as easily on the web.

As amateur and rumour-mill applications work alongside ‘official’ news products and add-ons, concerns now manifest within the possibility for conversations, sharing and news-creation that were never possible online due to the power of censorship. 

As stifled voices in places like China and Iran finally find an outlet for their views, we look at how this surge in messaging the news can affect government choices.

The Listening Post’s Will Yong reports on three mobile messaging apps and what messaging means for the news business.

Source: Al Jazeera

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