Brazil Culture

Brazil Culture and Mass Media

Newspapers in Brazil

According to DENTISTRYMYTH.COM, Brazil is a country located in South America. Brazil’s media landscape is characterized by a large concentration of ownership. A handful of companies dominate and several have operations in all areas – TV, radio, the internet and daily press and magazines.

The largest is Organizações Globo, Latin America’s largest media company, which also has operations in the food industry, the real estate industry and the financial market. Other major players are Grupo Abril, Grupo RBS, Central Record Comunicação and Grupo Folha.

The 1988 Constitution prohibits all media censorship, but there is a certain self-censorship as many newspapers and TV and radio channels are dependent on advertisements from the authorities in the different states. Threats and violence also occur and in 2012 five journalists were murdered in connection with their occupation.

Among Brazilian news agencies are state-owned Agência Brasil and the Globo Group’s Agência Globo.

TV and radio

According to PHARMACYLIB.COM, television is the dominant medium in Brazil, although the internet is getting bigger in some groups, especially in the big cities and among the younger ones. There are hundreds of TV channels, both terrestrial and distributed via cable and satellite. Virtually all of them are part of one of the major media groups or are owned by one of the purely broadcast companies.

The first television broadcasts started in 1950 in connection with the Soccer World Cup in Brazil. When the military took power in 1964, it saw TV as a way to get propaganda out and the government initiated an expansion of the network while subsidizing TVs.

As a partner, the military chose the Globo Group, whose national TV network Globo started in 1964. Globo’s competitor, TV Excelsior, was an opponent of the coup and was forced to close in 1970 after the broadcast license was withdrawn. Globo, which received a lot of criticism for its cooperation with the dictatorship regime, has maintained its lead and in 2013 is the network that has the most viewers.

Radio broadcasting started in Rio de Janeiro in 1922, and the radio was, until TV’s breakthrough, the dominant news source. In 2013, there are over 9,000 radio stations, of which just under half are commercial, about 5% are state education channels and the remaining local local radio.

Internet and mobile telephony

Internet use has probably exploded since the mid-2000s, with increasing wealth, and in 2013, more than half of the population had access to the Internet via ADSL, broadband or mobile broadband. However, there is a lot of difference between different regions and between city and countryside.

According to FRANCISCOGARDENING.COM, Brazilians have been quick to embrace social media compared to neighboring countries. Facebook is the most popular site and after the US, Brazil is the country in the world with the most accounts on Facebook, 72 million in 2013. 40 million Brazilians are on Twitter and also there is Brazil number two after the US.

Three domestic sites are among the ten most visited: Universo Online, an internet portal owned by Grupo Folha, Globo, a portal for the Globo Group and MercadoLibre, an e-commerce and auction site.

Four mobile operators dominate the market: Vivo, owned by Spanish Telefónica, TIM, owned by Telecom Italia, Claro, owned by Mexican América Móvil and Oi with roots in Telebras, the state-owned telemonopoly company that was split up in 1998. Together they have 97% of the market.

The Swedish Ericsson Group, which has been in Brazil since the beginning of the 1920s, is a leader in the expansion of the mobile networks. The company has over 7,000 employees in the country.

Daily press and magazine

Newspaper reading is relatively low, but the daily press as a whole has not undergone the same crisis as in Europe and the United States, mainly due to increased wealth and increased literacy. In contrast, the more serious morning newspapers have decreased in circulation, mainly due to competition from tabloids focusing on crime, celebrity gossip and football. There are over 600 daily newspapers, of which a handful are nationwide.

The liberal Folha de S.Paulo is the country’s largest newspaper. Folha de S.Paulo was founded in 1921 and is owned by Grupo Folha. It is considered one of the country’s most influential newspapers and is not linked to any political party. The edition is about 300,000 copies. (2013).

Other major newspapers are O Globo in Rio de Janeiro, founded in 1925 and owned by the Globo Group, O Dia in Rio de Janeiro, founded in 1951 and owned by Central Record Comunicação and O Estado de S. Paulo, founded in 1875 and owned by the holding company Grupo Estado.

The Tabloid Super Notícia, founded in 2002 in Belo Horizonte, has grown rapidly and in 2013 has a circulation of just under 300,000 items and is most focused on celebrity gossip and sports.

Free newspapers are common, especially in the big cities. Market leader is Swedish Metro International, whose daily newspaper Metro is published in nine different regional editions.

According to TOPB2BWEBSITES.COM, Brazil has a rich flora of weekly newspapers and magazines, most nationwide. The leading news magazine is Liberal Veja in São Paulo, founded in 1968 by journalist and media mogul Roberto Civita, who has a circulation of just over 1 million copies. (2013). The owner is Grupo Abril, who publishes some 50 magazines, among them Brazilian editions of Cosmopolitan, Playboy and National Geographic. The Globo Group is also in the magazine industry and publishes some 20 titles, among them the news magazine Época – founded in 1998 with German Focus as a model – with a circulation of just over 400,000 copies.


According to CALCULATORINC, Brazilian folk music rests on a Portuguese heritage but also holds African rhythms, such as in samban and bossa novan. In the field of visual arts, all population groups have made important contributions.

It was a long time before Brazilian culture set itself free from the Portuguese tradition. During the colonial period, the literature in Brazil was heavily influenced by the mother country. In the beginning, most Jesuit priests were engaged in authorship, such as Padre António Vieira (1608–1697).

After independence in 1822, romance and naturalism dominated. José de Alencar (1829-1877) was a romantic writer who idealized the indigenous peoples. He wrote, among other things, the novel O guaraní 1857. The realist Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis (1809-1908) is described as “the father of modern Brazilian literature”. He lived in Rio de Janeiro and among his works are Memórias póstumas de Brás Cubas from 1881.

In connection with the centenary of the country’s independence, in 1922, São Paulo organized a week of culture that became the beginning of Brazilian modernism. The poet Oswald de Andrade was a leading force and contributed to the creation of the journal Anthropophagia. It included poets such as Mário de Andrade, a pioneer in Latin American magical realism and most famous for his novel Macunaíma.

In the 1930s, the authors began to increasingly seek motives outside the cities. Several writers portrayed the poor northeastern Brazil, for example Graciliano Ramos (1892–1953), whose classic novel Vidas secas is in Swedish (Dehydrated Life). Another well-known 20th century author is João Guimarães Rosa (1908-1967). His greatest work, Grande Sertão: Veredas, is also translated into Swedish (Life is dangerous, senho r). Internationally best known is Jorge Amado (1912–2001), who also portrays northeastern Brazil.

Other modern authors are Antônio Callado, Márcio Souza, Ivan Ângelo, Ignácio de Loyola Brandão and João Ubaldo Ribeiro, the latter translated into Swedish with the novel Brazil, Brazil. Among modern female writers is Nélida Piñon, but most notably Clarice Lispector (1920–1977) with several books translated into Swedish, including the novel Perto do coração selvagem (Near the Wild Heart) and the short collection Laços de família (Family Bands). Most famous among contemporary poets is João Cabral de Melo Neto (1920–1999).

Children’s book author Lygia Bojunga Nunes was awarded the Swedish Alma Prize in 2004 in Astrid Lindgren’s memory. She has also written drama and adult literature.

In the field of visual arts, all population groups have made important contributions. During the 18th century, the architect and sculptor Antônio Francisco Lisboa, called Aleijadinho, appeared. His work is found in the historic cities of the eastern state of Minas Gerais, where a Baroque style of building has emerged since gold and diamonds were found in the area.

During the 19th century the painting was developed by Victor Meireles, among others. Modern Brazilian art is considered one of the foremost in the world with names such as Emiliano Di Cavalcanti and Cândido Portinari. The latter, for example, has done murals in the UN building in New York.

Modern architecture can be seen above all in the capital Brasília, whose city plan was made by Lúcio Costa. Many of the city’s buildings were designed by Oscar Niemeyer, who is the most well-known of Brazil’s architects. When Niemeyer died in 2012, 104 years old, a memorial ceremony was held in the presidential palace.

Brazilian folk music rests on a Portuguese heritage but also holds African rhythms, such as in samban and bossa novan. Chico Buarque is one of the representatives. Big names in popular music are, for example, Gil Costa, Milton Nacimento, Maria Betânia, Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil (Minister of Culture 2003-2008 and winner of the Swedish Polar Prize 2004). Heitor Villa Lobos (1887–1959) is the most famous composer of recent classical Brazilian music.

Brazilian film had a heyday in the 1960s but was affected more than other arts by the control of the military dictatorship from 1964 onwards. The most famous filmmakers are Glauber Rocha and Nelson Pereira dos Santos. The latter has continued its filmmaking after the return of democracy and has, among other things, made the critically acclaimed Dried Life after Graciliano Ramo’s book (see above). Fernando de Meirelle’s film City of God, which is based on a novel of the same name by Paulo Lins, and Walter Salle’s Central do Brasil has attracted international attention.

New filmmakers include Luis Carlos Barreto, who filmed Jorge Amado’s novel Dona Flor and her two spouses, among others. In Brazil, however, the production of TV series (telenovelas) has partly taken over traditional filmmaking.

The annual carnivals are popular expressions of popular culture. They take place in February / March in all cities in Brazil but the most famous ones are held in Rio de Janeiro and Salvador da Bahia. Preparations are in progress throughout the year where groups, so-called samba schools, learn dances, create costumes and rehearse songs and then compete against each other during the carnival. The carnival became internationally known through the film Orfeu negro, recorded in Rio in 1959 by French director Marcel Camus but with Brazilian actors. The film won both the Gold Palm at Cannes and an Oscar. Antônio Carlos Jobim and Luiz Bonfá wrote the well-known music for the film.

Football in Brazil also has to be counted. Soccer-crazy Brazil, with its imaginative, fast-paced games and players like the legendary Pelé, has long been one of the world’s leading football nations. In 2014, the country organized for the second time the World Cup in football.



Lula under investigation

The state prosecutor has launched an investigation into financial irregularities against Lula, following allegations from one of the convicted in the mensalão scandal that the ex-president knew and made money on this. This is Marcos Valério, who himself was sentenced to 40 years in prison and $ 1.3 million in fines for his involvement in the scandal.

The Mensalão trial ends

A total of 25 people have been convicted of participating in the corruption scandal (see August 2012). José Dirceu, who was Lula’s chief of staff in 2003-2005, has been sentenced to nearly eleven years in prison and fines of over SEK 2 million. Dirceu denies that any Mensalão function has ever existed and accuses the opposition and conservative media of running a campaign against the left government. Former party chairman José Genoíno has been sentenced to nearly seven years in prison and heavy fines. In the closing hearing, the court decides that three congressmen involved in the scandal should be deprived of their seats in the congress. They belong to three different parties.


Ex-chief of staff convicted in the mensalão scandal

The Supreme Court sentenced José Dirceu, who was Lula’s chief of staff in 2003-2005, to close to eleven years in prison and a fine of just over SEK 2.2 million for his role in the mensalão scandal (see August 2012). Dirceu denies that any Mensalão function has ever existed and accuses the opposition and conservative media of running a campaign against the left government. Former party chairman José Genoíno has been sentenced to nearly seven years in prison and heavy fines.


Local elections are held

In two elections during the month, mayors and members are appointed by the municipal council in more than 5,000 cities. In Rio de Janeiro, incumbent Mayor Eduardo Paes (PMDB) is re-elected with a satisfactory margin already in the first round, and the Labor Party is losing big in the major cities of Salvador and Fortaleza in the northeast as well. In São Paulo, however, the Labor Party resumes the important mayor post. The winner Fernando Haddad has been strongly supported by party comrades Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff. The municipal elections are the first held since a new law was introduced, which means that 30 percent of the candidates must be women.


Mensalão trial begins

The corruption trial that the media calls “the judicial process of the century” begins in Brazil. 37 people are charged with involvement in the so-called mensalão scandal in 2005 (mensalão means about “the big monthly money”). The concept came about after a number of MPs were accused of receiving monthly grants to support the government. Among the defendants are several former ministers, government officials, businessmen and bank employees. According to the prosecutor, members of the ruling party had paid allied members of the parliament $ 10,000 each month were for them to vote for the government’s proposal. The money should have been taken from government companies’ advertising budgets.


Environmental conference in Rio de Janeiro

The UN Global Environment Conference Rio + 20 brings together delegates from all over the world.


The Truth Commission begins work

According to a law passed in 2011, a seven-man commission has been appointed to investigate human rights violations committed during the years 1946 to 1988. Already in 2009, a commission was made to investigate abuses under the military dictatorship 1964-1985, but several militants were very critical and threatened to resign, and the decision was revoked. Now the assignment has been reworded and also applies for a longer period. Rousseff himself belongs to the thousands of Brazilians who were tortured during the military dictatorship 1964–1985.

President veto against forestry

President Rousseff vetoes parts of a new controversial law that has been swept through Congress for a year. The law gives landowners the right to harvest a larger proportion of rainforest than before and means amnesty for people who have harvested forest illegally. Critics believe that the law is a disaster for the environment. Now Rousseff is stopping his veto including amnesty for illegal logging.


Minister resigns

Mário Negromonte, minister responsible for cities, is accused of corruption and leaving his post.

Brazil Culture

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