Criticism of Rede Globo

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Banner criticizing the network during a protest in 2014; it says "Danger! Rede Globo alienates".

Criticism of Rede Globo refers to the extensive history of controversies involving the Brazilian television network and Brazilian society.[1] The broadcaster has an unparalleled ability to influence Brazil's culture and to shape the country's public opinion.[2]

The main historical controversy surrounding the television network and the rest of the Globo Organizations media empire centers on both the support for the Brazilian military government and the censorship of pro-democracy developments in its news broadcasts. The military regime, according to critics of the broadcaster, provided government concessions to Marinho family's media group and specifically to the Globo television network which had a very poor coverage the 1984 Diretas Já protests.[3] The Globo network itself admitted in the Jornal Nacional 49 years later, pressured by the 2013 protests in Brazil,[4][5][6] that the support given to the 1964 Brazilian coup d'état and the subsequent regime was "a mistake".[7]

At the end of the 1980s decade, the network was again targeted by critics because of edits made to the pre-recorded television debates between the presidential candidates in the 1989 election. The edits to the last debate favored candidate Fernando Collor de Mello,[8] who eventually won the election. At the end of the 1990s decade, the Globo Organizations faced severe financial problems and were bailed out by the government, even though it was strictly a private company.[2] During this period the broadcaster utilized its influence in the political arena to change an article in the Constitution of Brazil, a change which allowed 30% of foreign capital investment in the country's media sector.[2]

In 2002 the federal government offered R$280 million Brazilian reais in assistance to Globocabo cable TV company, part of Globo Organizations, by financing through the Brazilian Development Bank.[2] The broadcaster was criticized again for its biased coverage of the 2006 and 2010 elections. More recently, it was revealed that Globo Organizations had issues with the Brazilian revenue service. Between 2010 and 2012 the conglomerate was cited 776 times for tax evasion.[9]

Accusations of political influence[edit]

Support of military regime[edit]

"We took part in the 1964 Revolution, identified with the national desire to preserve democratic institutions, felt threatened by radical ideology, strikes, social disorder and corruption everywhere. When our newsroom was invaded by anti-revolutionary troops, we were firm in our position. We proceeded to support the victorious movement since the first moments of course corrections until the opening process, which should cement with the inauguration of the new president."
Roberto Marinho, in the newspaper O Globo, edition n° 1.596, 7 October 1984.[10]

Rede Globo was founded in 1965, one year after the 1964 Brazilian coup d'état, and it consolidated as the biggest television network of Brazil during the 1970s. In this period, the military government implemented a policy of modernization of the telecommunications infrastructure of the country. In 1965 it created Embratel at the same time that Brazil was joining Intelsat.[11] In 1968, the Ministry of Communications was created, and in the same year, the first FM radio stations appeared and the AERP (Assessoria Especial de Relações Públicas) was also created, which reinforced the need to propagate patriotic ideas and nationalism. In 1969, Brazil integrated with the global system of satellite communications.[11] The intention of the military government was to oppose the cultural dominance characteristic of the left at the time.[11] One of its weapons would have been television, with the regime turning a blind eye to the partnership between Roberto Marinho and the multinational Time-Life Television, which was technically prohibited by law. This contributed to the technological jump of Rede Globo.[11]

According to Globo Organizations, O Globo supported the 1964 military coup by taking side of the "widely held majority opinion" against the administration of president João Goulart.[12] They also state Roberto Marinho believed in the democratic aspirations of new military president Castelo Branco (1964-1967) and in the efficiency of the economic policies developed by economist Roberto Campos (appointed Minister of Planning) and Octavio Gouvêa de Bulhões (appointed Minister of Finance).[12] However, the conglomerate denies that the growth of Rede Globo was due to the close relationship Roberto Marinho had with the regime installed in March 1964, citing for example the difficulties in obtaining licenses for TV stations in the cities of João Pessoa and Curitiba in 1978, some cases of censorship in its programming, and let alone the fact that some of its professionals were members of the Brazilian Communist Party.[12]

Walter Clark, general manager of Rede Globo, confessed in his autobiography for canceling the programs of journalist Carlos Heitor Cony and economist Roberto Campos to satisfy the chief of police of the state of Rio de Janeiro.[13] Also, Clark confirmed hiring a former government censorship agent to "read everything going on air", and forming an advisory committee composed by general Paiva Chave, civilian right-wing conservative hard-liner Edgardo Manoel Erickson, and "some five or six employees".[13] Clark related receiving visits from military president Emílio Garrastazu Médici (1969-1974) to his offices at Rede Globo, where they would watch soccer matches shown by the broadcaster on Sundays.[13] According to him, the so-called "Globo standard of quality" ended up "going through the looking-glass of a regime which the TV Globo professionals never agreed with".[13]

In interviews made for the British documentary film Beyond Citizen Kane (1993), the Minister of Justice Armando Falcão (1974-1979) confirmed that "Roberto Marinho never gave me any problems. When I was the minister in charge of censorship and he was the director of the TV Globo network, Radio Globo, Radio Mundial and Radio Eldorado, he never gave me any trouble."[14] The military president Médici (1969-1974) even claimed in an interview, about Jornal Nacional prime time news, "I feel good every evening when I turn on the TV to watch Jornal Nacional. While the news report of strikes, protests, attacks and conflicts in various parts of the world, Brazil marches in peace, towards development. It is as if I took a tranquilizer after a day's work".[14] In 2012, a former deputy of the Department of Political and Social Order (DOPS) related the proximity between the military regime and Rede Globo.[15]

In 2013, the Globo Organizations publicly acknowledged their role and apologized to the Brazilian people through an editorial published in the O Globo newspaper, also read by news anchor William Bonner during Jornal Nacional evening TV news, for supporting the military dictatorship established in Brazil after the 1964 coup. The editorial states "In the light of history, however, there is no reason not to acknowledge, today, explicitly, that the support for the 1964 coup was a mistake, as well as other wrong editorial decisions in the period elapsed since that original mistake. Democracy is an unconditional value. And when in risk, it can only be saved by itself."[7]

Diretas Já protest[edit]

Diretas Já rally on April 16th, 1984 in the city of São Paulo.

On January 25 of 1984, the Rede Globo network aired, for the first time, what is considered to be the first large rally of the Diretas Já movement that took place in the Praça da Sé public square, in the city of São Paulo. That day, the local TV news program of the Rede Globo had a segment of two minutes and seventeen seconds on the topic. However, there was a misunderstanding during the transition to the Jornal Nacional, the flagship national TV evening news of the network. January 25 also happened to be the founding date of the city of São Paulo, and supposedly due to a technical error the news anchor ended up announcing that the rally was part of the ceremonies marking the 430th anniversary of the city. The broadcaster received accusations that the purported technical blunder was actually intentional manipulation of the facts, spin.[3]

José Bonifácio de Oliveira Sobrinho (Boni), former Vice President of the Globo Organizations, confirmed during an interview to journalist Roberto D'Ávila in 2005 that Roberto Marinho was the one who suppressed the coverage of the first large rally of the Diretas Já movement.[3] According to Boni, "Mr. Roberto did not want mention of Diretas Já" and decided that the event in Praça da Sé would be reported "without any participation of any of the dissenters".[3] What would have occurred, still according to him, was "double censorship" (by the government regime and broadcaster).[3] The official version of Rede Globo, related in the book Jornal Nacional - A Notícia Faz História, however, is that the broadcaster did not suppress news of the Diretas Já rally and the rumor that the broadcaster announced the event as part of the commemorations of the city's anniversary is false.[3]

Proconsult scheme[edit]

In 1982, Rede Globo is alleged to have been complicit in the so-called Proconsult scheme, an attempt at election fraud in the gubernatorial race of state of Rio de Janeiro. The scheme would have prevented the victory of Leonel Brizola, candidate for the Democratic Labour Party (PDT), by counting all blank, invalid, null, and hanging chad votes to his opponent Moreira Franco.[16] The company Proconsult, contracted by the Brazilian elections commission to tally the votes, had built a computerized system to count the ballots. However, their results did not match an independent exit poll conducted by newspaper Jornal do Brasil (not part of Globo Organizations) under the supervision of journalist Paulo Henrique Amorim.[16] The O Globo newspaper (part of Globo Organizations) had published an editorial in favor of candidate Moreira Franco in the eve of election day,[17] and stuck to the count numbers coming from Proconsult.[16]

According to journalist Hélio Fernandes of Tribuna da Imprensa newspaper (not part of Globo Organizations), the scheme did not succeed only due to the involvement of the deputy from the Rio de Janeiro Police, Manoel Vidal, who had been sent to officiate the vote count.[16] Vidal noticed that something was not right during the count process, and proceeded to contact Brizola's lawyer Arnaldo Campana.[16] Brizola, having been silenced and shut out by the Globo Organization media outlets, gave an interview to foreign news correspondents explaining the situation that had occurred.[16] The fraud was exposed and the journalists from Rede Globo were harassed in the streets of the city of Rio de Janeiro.[16] Rede Globo, in turn, argued that it "never hired Proconsult" and its results were based on numbers from O Globo newspaper (part of Globo Organizations) who were claimed to be responsible for conducting an aggregate vote count from electoral maps .[18]

Takeover of NEC Brazil[edit]

Under the military government, NEC Brazil, a subsidiary of the Japanese NEC Corporation, was forced to nationalized its corporate stock. Because of this, NEC Brazil ceded shareholder control of the company to the private equity group Brasilinvest of Brazilian investment banker Mário Garnero. Prior to military rule, during the re-democratization period, NEC Brazil had become the major supplier of telecommunications equipment to the Brazilian government.[19] In 1986, the then Minister of Communications Antônio Carlos Magalhães put NEC Brazil in financial difficulties by suspending all government contract payments to the company, whose main client was the federal government.[19] With the subsidiary in crisis, the NEC Corporation in Japan re-purchased the shares of NEC Brazil and sold them to Globo Organizations for only one million US dollars ($1,000,000 USD).[19] Shortly thereafter, Magalhães resumed the government contracts and corresponding payments, and NEC Brazil became valued at over 350 million US dollars ($350,000,000 USD).[19]

In December 1986, after Magalhães had helped Globo Organizations with the successful takeover of NEC Brazil, Rede Globo network agreed to accept Magalhães' TV station in the state of Bahia as an affiliate. Magalhães' TV Bahia was originally an affiliate of Rede Manchete (a competitor of Rede Globo not part of Globo Organizations). The station's network change took place in January 1987, one month after the NEC-Globo deal. The deal was initially reported at the time in the Brazilian press (even at Rede Globo and TV Bahia) as legal.[20] However, the deal became suspect when TV Bahia suddenly stopped Rede Manchete transmissions to broadcast Rede Globo programming instead, in January 1987. The situation lead to a lawsuit by the owners of TV Aratu station, an affiliate of Rede Globo in the Bahia state for 18 years,[19] against the owners of TV Bahia, but the legal dispute ended three days later, when it was settled that TV Bahia would transmit for Rede Globo and TV Aratu would transmit for Rede Manchete. Roberto Marinho's unilateral breach of contract with TV Aratu resulted in an 80% drop in ratings for the station after it was forced to leave Rede Globo network.[19]

Suspicions regarding the NEC-Globo deal took the national stage only in 1992 during the first corruption charges against the administration of president Fernando Collor de Mello. In 1999, with the break-up and privatization of the state-owned telephone monopoly Telebrás, the Globo Organizations sold their shares in NEC Brazil, which hit their all-time high during the state monopoly years.[21] The European and American phone operators who acquired pieces of the broken-up monopoly chose to stay with their existing western partners for their technology needs, and thus NEC Brazil had its market share reduced.[21]

1989 elections and impeachment[edit]

Rede Globo is accused of helping to elect presidential candidate Fernando Collor de Mello (owner of TV Gazeta in state of Alagoas, a Rede Globo affiliate)[22] in the 1989 presidential election, by manipulating segments of the last, televised, pre-recorded debate between Collor and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the left-wing candidate from the Worker's Party.[23][24] At the time of the upcoming debate, already in the second round of voting (runoff), the polls showed a technical tie between the two candidates; the televised confrontation would soon be a decisive factor in the race.[24] Eventually, Lula did not do well in the actual debate itself, and his own party acknowledged as much.[24] Lula lost the election.

Rede Globo had initially sought an exemption from the law mandating full coverage of the elections, but did a turnabout just when the technical tie was pronounced and it appears to have picked a side in the final stretch of the race.[24] Two TV news reports were aired on December 15, 1989 about the last debate, in the eve of the runoff vote.[16] One was shown on Jornal Hoje and the other on Jornal Nacional, the latter being more controversial. The first report showcased the best sides of each candidate, but the second was biased towards Collor by showing his best debate moments along with Lula's worst debate moments.[16][23][24] The Worker's Party filed a lawsuit against Rede Globo in the Supreme Court of Brazil. The plaintiff wanted new excerpts from the debate to be aired, by invoking the Right of Reply article from the Brazilian Constitution, but the request was ultimately denied by the court.[23]

Rede Globo always denied that it was a deliberate act of manipulation, but it also admitted that the segment was not balanced.[24] According to José Bonifácio de Oliveira Sobrinho (Boni), former Vice President of the Globo Organizations, the central news bureau of the company made a report biased to Collor, not following the company's directive for the coverage to be impartial.[24] Yet Roberto Marinho, the Chairman of Globo Organizations, before Boni's revelation, claimed that Boni did not understand the election and that the Jornal Nacional had summarized the debate correctly, since Collor had done better in the actual debate.[24] In 2009, twenty years after that election day, Collor finally admitted that he was favored by Rede Globo in the contest.[25]

Large parts of the Brazilian media had openly supported Collor's presidential campaign. However, according to historian Gilberto Maringoni, due to president Collor's party's inability to maintain a majority in congress and confrontations with a vocal faction of the country's corporate interests, president Collor himself caused the eventual change in tone of the national press. Brazil's economic crisis with the return of hyperinflation, the confiscation of Brazilians' bank savings,[26] and the intense investigative journalism of the press precipitated the grass-roots social protests that culminated with president Collor's impeachment.[27][28][29]

Leonel Brizola's right of reply[edit]

Governor Leonel Brizola received the right of reply through the TV news program Jornal Nacional after a two-year legal battle.

In March 1994, Rede Globo aired on the TV news program Jornal Nacional the right of reply obtained by the then governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro, after a two-year legal battle.[30] Governor Brizola had gone to court against Globo Organizations in 1992, after it was revealed that O Globo newspaper (part of Globo Organizations) intended to publish the next day, February 6 of that year, an editorial article titled "Understanding Brizola's Rage". Rede Globo, who wanted to block Governor Brizola from broadcasting Rio's carnival parade by Manchete TV Network for that year, using the newspaper's editorial board to accuse Brizola himself to suffer from "declining mental health" and of "management ineptitude".[31]

In the written response, approved by Judge of Law of the 18th Criminal Court of Rio de Janeiro City read on-air by news anchor Cid Moreira, governor Brizola stated he did not recognize Globo Organizations as an "authority in matters of freedom of the press" and that the media empire had a "long and friendly relationship with the authoritarian regime and with the 20-year dictatorship that had ruled our country". Governor Brizola stated that he was "made out to be some senile person". Then he argued "Now, I am 70 years-old, 16 less than my slanderer, Roberto Marinho, who is 86 years old. If this is your notion of men of a certain age, then apply it to yourself".[32]

In a retrospective article in 2009, media observer Observatório da Imprensa (not part of Globo Organizations) weighed in that "Brizola's contributions to the country, in the political arena and in social progress, were never that great [...] but this famous incident was a watershed event in the history of the freedom of the press. It stood for a shorthand for an action multiplier and for the increase of denunciations from the newspapers and journalists that followed".[31]

2006 elections[edit]

According to CartaCapital magazine, the Jornal Nacional TV news program did not cover the crash of Gol Flight 1907, but instead focused the whole episode on the Dossiêgate scandal.[33][34]

Rede Globo has been heavily criticized for its coverage of the general elections of 2006. The network is alleged to have been biased against the re-election campaign of then president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva,[35] by exaggerating the exposure of negative facts surrounding his Worker's Party. Luiz Carlos Azenha, the reporter assigned to cover the competing campaign of presidential candidate Geraldo Alckmin, stated that coverage of the Worker's Party was deliberately biased.[36] According to Azenha, "it was determined from Rio de Janeiro that the economic reports should be dismissed because they could supposedly benefit Lula's re-election".[36] Furthermore, Azenha confirmed that one of his own stories, potentially damaging for the gubernatorial candidate for São Paulo state José Serra, was censored by Rede Globo.[36] The criticism over the election coverage led the network to initiate, internally, a failed attempt at a petition supporting its editorial stance.[33][37]

The most panned event by critics occurred in the eve of the first round of voting (the primary). Rede Globo heavily highlighted the images of the cash confiscated in the context of the Dossiêgate scandal.[33][34] Today it is known that the deputy of the Brazil federal police who supervised the operation invited four journalists for a private meeting and passed the CDs containing the photos. The audio of meeting was completely recorded on tape and the deputy can be heard asking for the images to be shown in the Jornal Nacional TV news program the same day, September 29, 2006.[33][34] Rede Globo showed the images in its network programming the same night, but its news program did not cover the tragedy of the Gol Flight 1907 crash in which 154 people died. Thus, while news of the plane crash was being picked up around the world, the Rede Globo live news team was dedicated only to the spread of the political scandal. [33][34] In its defense, Rede Globo later stated that "it was impossible to announce the news [of the crash] during the broadcast of the news program, since they had no concrete information about the accident".[38]

The rumors that the Gol plane did not arrive on time in Brasília got to Jornal Nacional newsroom around 20:10, when the TV program was already on-air. From these rumors, a frantic race was initiated to verify what exactly had happened to the airplane, in order to avoid creating public panic. The first confirmation was, in fact, that the Gol plane that had disappeared since 18:10, but the Infraero would not confirm the route or the flight number. Without this information, it was impossible to divulge any information about the missing plane, without causing great distress to all those who had relatives or friends flying Gol. It was not just a few flights: on September 29th, 2006, 54 Gol aircraft took off. Each one could take up to 144 passengers; with an average occupancy of 80% of the seats. Gol calculates that it flew 6,200 people that day. Not divulging the flight number or the route would put all 54 flights under suspicion, a decision that a TV news program leader in ratings, watched by millions, could not take. While on-air, until 20:45, neither Jornal Nacional or any other TV news program from other networks got this information.

— Rede Globo's explanation for its lack of coverage.[38]

A few weeks after the end of the elections, Rodrigo Vianna, a reporter leaving Rede Globo, released an open letter criticizing several of network's positions during the elections period, giving his view of the internal operations.[39] In the letter Vianna claims, like Azenha, that network orders barred reports and investigations involving the Brazilian Social Democracy Party and its gubernatorial candidate for São Paulo state José Serra.[35] According to Vianna, some journalists questioned the editorial actions of Rede Globo, but did not receive convincing explanations from their superiors.[35] Soon after the elections, Vianna was moved from political reporting and dispatched to work on local newspapers.[35] The network's political commentator Franklin Martins, who would later become Press Secretary for president Lula, was also dismissed that year.[35] Vianna said "From Bom Dia Brasil to Jornal da Globo, we have a parade of people who are all on the same side".[35]

2010 elections[edit]

Anniversary jingle[edit]

On 18 April 2010, the network launched a new marketing campaign celebrating its 45-year anniversary, in the newsmagazine TV show Fantástico. The anniversary day was 26 April. In the commercials, the network's logo appeared next to the number 45 and next to its soap opera actors reciting the jingle "we all want more". In a particular point the actors say "We all want more. Education, health, and, of course, love and peace. Brazil? Much more". According to André Luís Vargas Ilário, congressman from Paraná state and press secretary for the Workers' Party, the jingle had a secretly embedded propaganda message favorable to José Serra, the presidential candidate for the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB). The embedded message had "45", the registration number of the PSDB with the Superior Electoral Court, and the jingle phrasing "we all want more", according to Worker's Party critics, was a reference to the Serra campaign slogan "Brazil can be more".[40]

Rede Globo pulled the TV spot off the air on the first day of the 45-year company anniversary campaign. The network stated that the ad was created in November 2009, when "candidate's campaigns did not exist, let alone slogans, but Rede Globo will not give excuses for accusations of bias and it is suspending the ad".[40] Columnist Luís Nassif, however, challenged the network's justification,[41] claiming that the commercial spot was shot on April 14 instead, three days after candidate Serra launched his campaign, pointing as evidence the news release on Rede Globo's own website RedeGlobo.com.[42]

José Serra "attacked"[edit]

Rede Globo reported during the second round (runoff) campaign that José Serra was assaulted with a roll of duct tape by Worker's Party militants during a campaign stop in Rio de Janeiro, fell ill and then headed to a hospital where he was examined. He had canceled all remaining appointments for the day by doctor's orders.[43] However, competing network SBT showed a video recording of Serra being hit by a paper ball, then walking until he received a phone call, and only 20 minutes later[44] putting his hand on his head to complain about the "blow".[43] Serra then had a CT scan done, but no injuries were found.[44] The incident generated a wave of criticism on Twitter because of the version of events promoted by Rede Globo, getting the hashtags #SerraRojas (a reference to Chilean soccer player Roberto Rojas who deliberately injured himself during a match) and #BolinhadePapelFacts ("paper ball facts") trending.[43]

On October 21, 2010, the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper (not part of Globo Organizations) published a report revealing that Serra was hit by a roll of duct tape after the paper ball.[45] The same day, Jornal Nacional TV news program (part of Globo Organizations) aired a completed report on the incident. On October 22, both Folha de S.Paulo and O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper (not part of Globo Organizations) confirmed that Serra was hit in two separate occasions: first by a paper ball, and then by a roll of duct tape. SBT network also confirmed in its TV news program SBT Brasil that the images of the paper ball preceded the scene with the roll of duct tape.[46] Five days later, the magazine Veja (not part of Globo Organizations) published an article titled "Beating club in democracy", in which journalist Fabio Portela accused the SBT network of omitting footage of the roll of duct tape that had been thrown at Serra's head. [47] SBT network, in turn, responded that "the SBT Brasil episode aired the day the incident, Thursday the 20th, showed only the footage captured by our cameras, which had the scene with the paper ball. Until that moment we had no knowledge of the existence of the other video captured by a Folha de S.Paulo journalist, using a cell phone, showing the later event, in which the roll of duct tape reaches the head of candidate Serra. Upon learning this new fact, SBT proceeded to broadcast it on the same day in the midnight newscast. In SBT Brasil the next day, Friday, the news presenter Carlos Nascimento returned to the topic, pointing out that the second event was not captured by our team, but stressed that the candidate Jose Serra was hit twice in a span of a few minutes."[48]

[...] therefore there was no dispute between SBT and Rede Globo about the paper ball. Throughout the affair, the credit is due to Folha de S.Paulo in all fairness. It was the newspaper who first reported the attack on Serra with a roll of duct tape. It was the newspaper who put on the Internet a video of the moment of aggression. The Jornal Nacional, in an independent report, confirmed the findings of Folha.

— Rede Globo's conclusion on the case.[46]

2012 elections[edit]

Rede Globo was much criticized for its coverage of the corruption trial known as the Mensalão scandal involving the Worker's Party, which coincided with the Brazilian municipal elections of 2012. In October 2012, on the eve of the second round of voting (runoff) for the municipal elections, the Jornal Nacional (part of Globo Organizations) dedicated 18 of its 32-minute show to the trial, and furthermore the show was aired immediately following the televised free electoral program (propaganda eleitoral gratuita, or free political advertising) that in São Paulo ended with the spot for mayoral candidate Fernando Haddad from the Worker's Party. During the entire second round campaign period, the news of the Mensalão scandal was presented on TV by Rede Globo always after the end of the free electoral program.[49]

2013 protests[edit]

During a series of grassroots protests that took place in many cities across Brazil in 2013, demonstrations occurred in front of the network's affiliate stations throughout the country. The network's main office in city of São Paulo had manure thrown at the front its building and had its walls defaced. [50][51] In protests at the Rede Globo headquarters in city of Rio de Janeiro, demonstrators clashed with the police.[52]

Rede Globo was targeted for protests through online social networks and community organizations.[53] On June 19, during Jornal Nacional TV news, presenter Patrícia Poeta read an editorial written by Rede Globo itself, speaking of the acts against the network. The next day, the network aired scenes of demonstrations across the country.[54] The broadcast of a soccer match of the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup had been scheduled for the same day, but it was canceled because the network prioritized the coverage of the protests; two soap operas did not air that day either: Flor do Caribe and Sangue Bom.[55] Because of this, the network saw a ratings drop,[56] but its gesture was well-received on the Internet.[57] The station has also been accused of focusing exclusively on acts of vandalism in the coverage of the protests.[58]

2014 elections[edit]

On August 8, 2014, a little before the start of the televised free electoral program (propaganda eleitoral gratuita), articles published in O Globo newspaper[59] and newscasts of the network accused the Palácio do Planalto, the official office of the President of Brazil, of changing information in the Wikipedia pages of Miriam Leitão and Carlos Alberto Sardenberg, both Rede Globo journalists, in order to defame them. Edits made in May 2013, by a device from the computer network of the Palácio do Planalto, qualified Leitão's analysis as "disastrous" and accused her of having "passionately" defended the banker Daniel Dantas when he was arrested by the Brazilian Federal Police,[60] citing as evidence one of Leitão's comment in Rádio CBN (part of Globo Organizations) where she defended Dantas' innocence.[61] The edits accused Sardenberg of being critical of the government's interest rate policy because his brother works in the Brazilian Federation of Banks, a business association of private banks.[60]

The Palácio do Planalto, in a press release, explained that there was no way to identify the author of the edits, since the IP address used to do so served both the internal network and the wireless network, which would allow for the possibility of any visitor to have made the changes.[62] The Globo Organizations were criticized for disclosing the alterations to the biographies of their employees in Wikipedia, since it is a collaborative tool open for editing for all, and because according to its creator Jimmy Wales, should not be used as the primary source of information.[60] The network was also criticized for only announcing the alterations more than one year after the fact and during the 2014 elections campaign season.[60] The journalist Miguel do Rosário (not an employee of Globo Organizations) reported of a similar case that occurred in the wireless network of the Department of Data Processing of the State of São Paulo and stated that he had visited the Palácio do Planalto, where he had obtained the wireless password for the presidential office.[63] Rede Globo, according to critics, was disgruntled with the possibility of information dissemination produced in a non-linear fashion via the Internet.[60][63]

Government advertising funds[edit]

During the government Dilma between 2010 and 2016, the state has spent half of advertising dollars to the Globe.[64]

Sports controversies[edit]

Pre-recorded UFC fight[edit]

On May 27, 2012, a match of the Ultimate Fighting Championship was aired by Rede Globo and billed as a "live broadcast", but channel Combate, part of pay-per-view service Globosat (itself part of Globo Organizations), had shown the fight 30 minute earlier than Rede Globo.[65] In other words, Rede Globo pre-recorded the fight, but put "live" on top of its TV logo bug, which generated a lot of criticism, especially on social networking services.[66]

Sports coverage monopoly[edit]

Rede Globo is frequently accused of holding a monopoly on sports broadcasts, primarily of the Campeonato Brasileiro de Futebol. This monopoly, which began slowly in the early 1990s, was only made possible thanks to the launch of the first subscription-TV services (cable and satellite) in Brazil, also coinciding with the withdrawal of the major competing networks' interests in airing such sporting events, on the grounds that they had high transmission costs and low ratings. After that, with those rights offered to Globo Organizations, it set up a cartel with Rede Bandeirantes which prevented all other networks from broadcasting the matches.[68] Since then, the two have been the only ones to air any games.[68]

On October 20, 2010, after 10 years of failed attempts, the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE), a government anti-trust agency, issued a guidance for the Clube dos 13 (the group that actually includes the 20 major league teams of Brazilian association football) for it not to give preference to Rede Globo for the broadcast rights of the matches of the Campeonato Brasileiro de Futebol and for it to start offering different transmission packages for each media type (over-the-air TV, cable TV, pay-per-view TV, Internet TV, mobile TV) from the 2012 to 2014 championships.[69] Nevertheless, the Club dos 13 disregarded the guidance of CADE and signed a contract with Rede Globo for all media types.[70] Thus, Rede Globo will maintain its monopoly on the broadcast of the Campeonato Brasileiro de Futebol matches, until at least 2015.[70]

According to sports show Esporte Fantástico from Rede Record (not part of Globo Organizations), aired on August 17, 2013, Rede Globo is the main reason for the low attendance in the matches of the Campeonato Brasileiro de Futebol for that year.[68] The report asserts Rede Globo's affiliate in Rio de Janeiro demands that the games start only after the end of its primetime 9pm soap operas. This results in a kick-off of 10pm, which makes it difficult for the public to be present at the stadiums.[68] A few days earlier, in an interview with Lancenet website, player Alexsandro de Souza of the Coritiba Foot Ball Club declared that the network's practices are heartless towards sports fans.[67]

Rede Record was able to break the monopoly with its acquisition of rights to the Olympics and Pan American Games from 2010 through 2015. Globo did acquire rights to the 2016 Summer Olympics, but chose to sub-license portions of the coverage to Record and Band.[71] Nevertheless, Rede Globo maintains the broadcast rights for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup, through a bidding process criticized by Rede Record for its lack of transparency.[72]

Other controversies[edit]

Operation Car Wash[edit]

In the 1990s, then journalist Paulo Francis denounced firsthand that Petrobras was involved in corruption cases. The then chief of the company Joel Rennó sued the journalist who infatted soon after.[73]

Tax troubles and missing charity money[edit]

The Globo Organizations has had tax problems with the Brazilian revenue service. Between 2010 and 2012, the conglomerate was notified 776 times for tax evasion. Without the payment of taxes, most of penalties assessed involved the seizure of equipment at the Galeão International Airport in Rio de Janeiro.[9] Also according to the revenue service, the corporation engaged in accounting fraud by negotiating R$158 million Brazilian reais in debt forgiveness or discharge with the JPMorgan Chase bank in 2005.[2] The network, fined R$730 million Brazilian reais, disputed the charges, but was defeated in one of the cases brought by the Ministry of Finance in September 2013.[2] Furthermore, the company withheld payment of corporate income taxes through the use of tax havens to purchase the broadcast rights for the 2002 FIFA World Cup.[2] Upon completion of the investigation in October 2006, the revenue service intended to impose a fine of R$615 million on the broadcaster.[2] However, a few weeks later the docket mysteriously disappeared from the revenue service's headquarters in Rio de Janeiro.[2] In January 2013, a government employee of the revenue service, Cristina Maris Meinick Ribeiro, was sentenced to four years in prison for being responsible for the disappearance.[2] During the trial, she claimed to have acted freely on her own accord.[2]

A documented dated September 15, 2006, released by WikiLeaks in 2013, stated that Rede Globo passed to UNESCO only 10% of the amount collected since 1986 through the annual Criança Esperança telethon, a charity fundraiser benefiting poor children and promoted in partnership with the United Nations.[74][75] The broadcaster said "to ignore" this information and claimed that "all the money raised by the campaign is deposited directly to the UNESCO account".[74][75]

Beyond Citizen Kane[edit]

Chico Buarque appeared in Beyond Citizen Kane, giving a testimonial for the production team.

In 1993, British network Channel 4 broadcast a documentary film directed by Simon Hartog and titled Beyond Citizen Kane, which tells the story of Rede Globo and its "dark deeds" in the country up to 1990.[76][77] The documentary has been forbidden in Brazil since 1994, due to a lawsuit filed by Roberto Marinho. There are currently a few copies in circulation in Brazil, and pirated versions exist on the Internet (for example on YouTube).[77] The film has the participation of artists, politicians, and experts: Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Chico Buarque, Leonel Brizola, Washington Olivetto, and others. The documentary has never been shown on Brazilian theaters and the premiere showing that would normally take place in the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro was banned by the then president Itamar Franco.[77]

In Brazil the documentary received the Portuguese title Muito Além do Cidadão Kane. The title originated in character Charles Foster Kane, created in 1941 by writer and director Orson Welles for the film Citizen Kane, which in turn was a dramatized fiction based on the life of William Randolph Hearst the American newspaper business magnate. According to the documentary, Rede Globo uses the same vulgar manipulation of news to influence public opinion as Kane did in the movie.[77] According to an article published in the Folha de S.Paulo website on August 28, 2009, an independent production company created the film and the British public television BBC had no involvement in its development whatsoever. However, Rede Record (not part of Globo Organizations) maintains that the BBC was involved in the production.[78]

The documentary is divided in four parts:

  • The first part shows the relationship between Rede Globo and the military regime period.
  • The second part shows the deal struck between the Rede Globo and the American Time-Life Television.[78]
  • The third part demonstrates the power of the network's owner Roberto Marinho.[79]
  • The fourth part, considered the most important and revealing part of the film, clearly shows "the illegal activities and means of manipulation utilized by Globo Organizations in their shadow partnerships with the powers in Brasília". However, the documentary has no primary sources, only interviews.[77]

Rede Globo had attempted to purchase the rights to the film.[78] However, before his death, director Simon Hartog formed an agreement with Brazilian organizations so that the domestic rights to the documentary would not fall into the hands of the network, in order to make it possible for it to be widely disseminated by political and cultural organizations. The network lost interest in buying the film after their lawyers discovered the clause, but to this day a court order prohibits the showing of Beyond Citizen Kane in Brazil.[77] According to Folha de S.Paulo newspaper, in the 1990s the Rede Record network (not part of Globo Organizations) had tried to purchased the broadcast rights to the documentary, but "realized that there would be a legal dispute with the Rede Globo about the many video clips taken from their programming. Therefore it decided not to buy it".[79] However, in August 2009, at the height of an exchange of accusations between the networks caused by money laundering charges of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, Rede Record finally bought the broadcast rights for the documentary for approximately $20 million US dollars, and awaits the authorization from the courts to show it on TV.[78]

Papa-Tudo scandal[edit]

"And so, using a large television network, [...] a great saleswoman pitching directly to children nagging their parents to buy, [...] associating with beyond suspicion 'uncle' Arthur Falk, one of the biggest scams – a con job – hit the silly public who believed in Rede Globo, the public who purchased the products that the network claims are donated to "charities" blessed by Rede Globo. Poor public, moved by the deception of glamorous television tricks."

—Antônio Paiva Rodrigues, Observatório da Imprensa.[80]

In the beginning of the 1990s, in order to compete with Tele Sena, a prize-linked savings account run by Grupo Silvio Santos (not part of Globo Organizations),[81] Rede Globo launched Papa-Tudo in partnership with banker Artur Falk. Papa-Tudo had César Filho and Fausto Silva as presenters and Xuxa Meneghel as the spokesmodel.[82] The Papa-Tudo and Tele Sena savings titles were sold in a similar way: the public would acquire the titles in lottery shops or at the post office, and if the title was not a winner of the lottery drawing, then the buyer could get back half of the money paid into the account after one year or purchase a new title for half the price.[80] Even before the launch of Papa-Tudo, the journalist Helio Fernandes of Tribuna da Imprensa newspaper said that "it smelled like a big scam and a venture between Arthur Falk and Roberto Marinho did not have a chance in a million of success."[80]

According to Observatório da Imprensa: "... they promised that, besides the buyback guarantee, the future buyers would still be eligible to compete in millions in prizes and part of the revenues would still be destined for charity. In a colossal and obscene 'pyramid scheme', they infested the whole of Brazil with miraculous promises of easy riches, always headlined by the exclusiveness of Rede Globo, the unsuspecting Xuxa, and the good will of charities. Lulled by the TV heroes of Rede Globo and the UNICEF 'ambassadors', the whole country purchased, again and again, the little notes of 'uncle' Arthur Falk, broadcast by Rede Globo and presented by impeccable Xuxa."[80] However, the post office and lottery shops eventually stopped redeeming the titles, because they were not receiving the prize moneys of Papa-Tudo. The title said it would indemnify the buyers, which actually did not happen. The scandal culminated in Arthur Falk's arrest on charges of embezzlement. On the other hand, no one from Rede Globo was held responsible.[80][82]

Purchase of TV Paulista[edit]

In 1955, Oswaldo Ortiz Monteiro decided to sell TV Paulista, which he owned, to communications company Victor Costa Organizations (not part of Globo Organizations) because of difficulties faced by the TV station. 55% of the outstanding stock, consisting of 15,099 shares, was turned over to the conglomerate. Victor Costa died while awaiting the transfer of TV Paulista to his name to be approved by the National Department of Telecommunications (DENTEL). The son of Victor Costa was left in charge, but control of the stock was still in the name of the former shareholders. Nine years later, he sold the TV channel to Roberto Marinho (then chairman of Globo Organizations), even without the transfer documents, but the original controlling shares still remained with the Ortiz Monteiro family for over 13 years. In 1977, DENTEL approved the stock transfer from Ortiz Monteiro to Roberto Marinho, based on receipts and proxies presented by Rede Globo. Then the station was transformed into TV Globo São Paulo, the Rede Globo affiliate for the city of São Paulo.[83]

After the death of Oswaldo Ortiz Monteiro in 1990, his family began investigating possible fraud in the purchase of TV Paulista by Rede Globo. A forensic examination of the documents performed in 2003 by the Del Picchia institute in São Paulo revealed that the signatures were forged, names of persons deceased before the transfer were included, and the use of typewriters which did not exist in the country at the time.[84] The lawyers representing Rede Globo brought expert testimony of Antonio Nunes da Silva attesting that the receipts and affidavits in possession of the Marinho family were authentic.[85] In 2010, the Brazilian supreme court confirmed that the documents were genuine.[86] However, four years later senator Roberto Requião of Paraná state sponsored a bill in the Federal Senate with a motion to the Ministry of Communications to approve the transfer of TV Paulista to the Marinho family.[87]

TV Diário removed from satellite[edit]

On February 25, 2009, TV Diário, a network belonging to Sistema Verdes Mares, stopped its transmission for satellite dishes, through which it reached South America, parts of the Caribbean, and its affiliate stations spread throughout Brazil. Sistema Verdes Mares also owned TV Verdes Mares station in the state of Ceará, however the station was an affiliate of Rede Globo instead. TV Diário discontinuing its satellite signal surprised viewers, and those who had tried and failed to watch TV Diário through affiliate ground stations started to follow other networks starting from that day on.[88] According to information obtained before and after TV Diário went off the air, the network stopped its satellite transmission due to pressure from Globo Organizations directed toward Sistema Verdes Mares, who was responsible for TV Verdes Mares, "because of the excessive growth in the TV Diário ratings in many markets in the country, including the Rio de Janeiro–São Paulo axis, which threatened the Rede Globo market niches".[89]

After stopping satellite TV transmission, TV Diário's coverage was through over-the-air TV and cable TV only, with services restricted to the state of Ceará and neighboring regions in the northeast of the country, and some cities in the state of São Paulo in the south.[90] Another network from Ceará, Rede União (not part of Globo Organizations) then became the only satellite TV broadcaster with a national reach based out of the state.[91] Rede Globo responded that "TV Globo, as the flagship of Rede Globo network and formed by a group of 121 affiliate stations, seeks to accommodate VHF and UHF signals so that they are confined to their respective coverage areas. This way, through mutual understanding and respect for reciprocal interests, TV Diário operations will be restricted to its coverage territory, and it will no longer be available in the territories of other affiliates. Its signal will continue on satellite covering the state of Ceará, however, it will be scrambled".[92] Rede Globo's conduct was widely criticized; residents from the northeast region of Brazil promoted a boycott of the network on March 13, 2009, but the movement did not take.[93]

A similar occurrence took place with Amazon Sat TV, property of Amazon Network, in which it could be received freely by satellite dish from the year 1998 to 2004, however from then on the signal was scrambled and a satellite digital receiver with an access card became required.[89] Starting in 2014, Amazon Sat TV became available nationally again, through the satellite SES-6 used by Oi TV (not part of Globo Organizations).[94]

Defamation lawsuit[edit]

On September 16, 2008, the comedians Casseta & Planeta performed an offensive sketch in their comedy show Casseta & Planeta, Urgente! broadcast by Rede Globo. The sketch featured a fictional, handicapped, political candidate character called "Tinoco the touched one", without any arms or legs, who declared to the audience "you know me: I am Tinoco, the touched one. Vote for me, for I cannot rob without my hands, and I if I do rob, I cannot run". This led to the Brazilian Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transvestite and Transsexual Association (ABGLT) to file a complaint with the Regional Prosecutor for Citizen Rights in São Paulo against Rede Globo for defamation against the physically disabled.[95][96]

Name mix-up[edit]

In 2011, Rede Globo was sued by bartender Igor Pachi who had his image mixed-up with that of Big Brother Brazil contestant Igor Gramani. According to his lawyer Shirley Klouri, "Rede Globo [TV network], the websites for Globo Organizations, and the [satellite TV] channel Multishow broadcast photos and videos of her client in ads for the program which caused problems for him". The young man was granted an injunction asking for the retraction, and compensation equal to no less than 150 times the minimum yearly wage.[97]

Wikipedia edits[edit]

On August 8, 2014, an article on the website of the O Globo newspaper (part of Globo Organizations)[98] stated that a device connected to the Internet through the wireless network of the Palácio do Planalto presidential offices altered information on the pages of Miriam Leitão and Carlos Alberto Sardenberg, both Rede Globo journalists, in the Portuguese language Wikipedia in May 2013, with the intention of defamation of character. The information inserted in the article for Miriam Leitão qualified her analyses and economic forecasts as "disastrous" and accused her of having "passionately" defended the banker Daniel Dantas when he was arrested by the Brazilian Federal Police.[60] This was due to her comments in Rádio CBN where she backed the innocence of Dantas.[99]

In a statement, the Palácio do Planalto explained that the IP address used for the edits was mapped to both its internal network and the wireless network. This opened the possibility that any visitor to the presidential offices could have made the modifications.[100] However, the presidential offices eventually identified the author of the changes as a civil servant in the Office of Institutional Relations and the employee was dismissed.[101]

The Globo Organizations has been criticized for disclosing changes in biographies of its employees in Portuguese language Wikipedia. The collaborative nature of Wikipedia means that it is open for editing for everyone, and according to its founder, Jimmy Wales, should not be used as a primary source of information.[60] Rede Globo was also criticized for only reporting on the edits during the height of the 2014 presidential campaigns.[60]

The journalist Miguel do Rosário (not an employee of Globo Organizations) reported of a similar case where someone using the wireless network of the Department of Data Processing of the State of São Paulo inserted a slanderous statement in the Portuguese language Wikipedia biography of Brazilian musician Raul Seixas.[63] He also stated that he had visited the Palácio do Planalto before, where he had obtained the wireless password for the presidential office.[63]

Report on women in the Arab world[edit]

Fantástico program aired a story on June 29, 2014, entitled "Women are seen as the property of men in Lebanon", talking about violence against women in Arab countries, particularly in Lebanon, and showing how women are seen as a possession of men after marriage and are victims of rape, domestic violence, and murder. The report generated a commotion in the Arab community, which sent letters to Rede Globo accusing them of showing a prejudiced view of Lebanese women.[102]

The Federation of American-Arabs said in a statement: "It is imperative to address this problem, which acquires dramatic contours worldwide. But it is our duty to draw attention to the fact that, depending on how the information is conveyed, it completely distorts facts and contributes greatly to create prejudice, stereotypes, and negative social representations of an entire country, for example". On July 9, 2014, members of the Arab and Lebanese community of São Paulo gathered outside the headquarters of Rede Globo and held a protest against the report. The protesters demanded the right of reply and a retraction by Rede Globo.[103]

Report on international student exchange program[edit]

In 2015, Rede Globo did a feature on the Ciência sem Fronteiras international scholarship program, stating that the Brazilian government had delayed the disbursement of funds thus forcing medical student Amanda Oliveira to return to Brazil from abroad ahead of time. The student blurted out in her Facebook page that "it's all lies" and "Rede Globo, besides being sensationalist, is still not able to find out the facts before speaking out" and that "my experience with Ciência sem Fronteiras could not have been better".[104] Her stated reason for returning to Brazil when she did is the fact that her university classes were about to start.[104]

Tiradentes[edit]

The TV station violated historical patrimony norms to the gravel scenes of novel in the Mother Church of the city of Tiradentes with the authorization of the prefecture that at the time was of the government of the PSDB.[105]

Palocci's Delight[edit]

In the announcement given to Operation Car Wash, Antônio Palocci stated that Rede Globo was involved in the multimillion-dollar loan scheme involving public companies, tax evasion and outside companies.[106][107]

Documentary about Libya[edit]

The then journalist Georges Bourdokan recorded a documentary about Libya by Muammar Gaddafi that ended up not being broadcast by the station in the 70's for reasons that have not yet been explained and that have given repercussions to the foreign media until the twenty-first century.[108]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Valério Cruz Brito, César Ricardo Bolano (2005). Rede Globo: Quarenta anos de poder e hegemonia. Aulus. p. 373. ISBN 9788534923378.
  • Genésio Lopes, Genésio Lopes (2005). O Super Poder: O Raio X da Rede Globo: um Império da Ganância e da Lucratividade. Ibrasa. ISBN 9788534801928.
  • Daniel Herz, Daniel Herz (1983). A História Secreta da Rede Globo. Porto Alegre: Tchê. p. 424. ISBN 9788599988206.

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