Media Accoutability Systems and brazilian reality
The main objective of my research is to evaluate and promote the discus sion about Media and Social Responsibility in a Brazilian reality, with the European experiences (like press and ‘audio-visual’ councils in Portugal and Spain) in mind. The intellectual and paradigmatic starting point is the media can make use of Media Accountability Systems, as mainly analyzed by Bertrand (2002) and Pritchard (2001).
The project started with the ‘SOS-Imprensa’ actions. ‘SOS-Imprensa’ has a history of 10 years of research and outreach as a not-for-profit aca demic service, based on the principle that communication institutions must fulfill their social functions, which transcends their commercial interest. Through my main theoretical framework, I am trying rescue some values and questions of the liberal press theories, debated in the forties and fifties. With its liberal presuppositions as a basis, the freedom of speech is considered to be the right to communicate and to be informed, but ‘it can not be conceived as a ‘laissez faire’’. Going beyond these liberal presuppositions, it is contended (by many) that the Press Social Responsibility Theory (SRTP) provides us with a possible basis for establishing an ethical journalism system, based on the central principle that journalists are obliged to be responsible to their readers. This model was already described by the Press Freedom Commission in USA, better known as Hutchins Commission, constituted in 1942.
Their intention was to reorient and transform the performance of the press and the, at the time, recently-established radio stations and televi sions. The first Commission publication was the A Free and Responsible Press report, released in 1947, proposed a new press agenda and was criti cized by most newspapers.
The SRTP sees the press as an institution whose goal it is to safeguard civil rights. The SRTP also attaches value to the way issues are presented to the public opinion, given its (potential) influences and repercussions in society. Today, the SRTP debate—based on the Hutchins Commission— is still highly relevant, especially when the complexity of large media conglomerates is taken into account.