When we began our reporting on the political crisis that has engulfed Brazil, we had no idea what the impact might be. But the response has been extraordinary. Our articles about Brazil — both in English and Portuguese — have consistently been among The Intercept’s most-read stories, and our Brazilian readership has grown rapidly.
It quickly became apparent to us that there is a hunger among Brazilians for alternative forms of reporting. The country — the world’s fifth most populous — has long been dominated by a tiny number of powerful media institutions, almost all of which supported the 1964 coup and the subsequent 21-year brutal right-wing military dictatorship that followed, and which are still owned by the same handful of extremely rich families responsible for that history. In a remarkably diverse and pluralistic country, that ownership homogeneity has resulted in a media landscape that stifles both diversity and plurality of viewpoints.
We believe that the desire for more independent, pluralistic, and adversarial forms of journalism in Brazil extends beyond the nation’s political crisis. By simply ignoring large swaths of the country, Brazil’s major media outlets render invisible the country’s profound challenges of social and economic justice as well as all sorts of political viewpoints and movements.
In late April, Reporters Without Borders issued its annual press freedom ranking and Brazil dropped to 104th in the world due in part to the fact that “media ownership continues to be concentrated in the hands of leading industrial families linked to the political class.” Worse, the group said, “in a barely veiled manner, the leading national media have urged the public to help bring down President Dilma Rousseff” and “the journalists working for these media groups are clearly subject to the influence of private and partisan interests, and these permanent conflicts of interest are clearly very detrimental to the quality of their reporting.”
Though Brazil enjoys one of the world’s most vibrant and talented pools of bloggers and independent journalists, they often lack the kind of institutional backing that is necessary to achieve broad social impact.
With the goal of helping to fill this gap, we are today announcing the launch of The Intercept Brasil. For this initial pilot stage of the project, we have assembled an exciting team of Brazilian journalists and editors — meet our team here — who will produce original reporting on the country’s political, economic, social, and cultural debates, which will be published on a Portuguese-language version of the Intercept homepage. We will also work with preeminent freelance journalists and other independent media outlets. We will translate the articles of international interest into English and also provide translations of other Intercept content into Portuguese. You can follow us on Facebook (here) and Twitter (here).
Along with original content, we are also implementing the principles of source protection that are so central to The Intercept. The technologies we have adopted to ensure that sources can provide confidential material to our team with the fullest possible protection from online surveillance and detection — such as SecureDrop — will be available to Brazilian sources as well. Those wishing to furnish material to our journalists in Brazil in confidence can do so by reading this guide.
The political crisis of the last year has only underscored how threatening Brazil’s media homogeneity is to democracy and a free press. As a large and diverse country, Brazil occupies an important place on the global stage, and most of its problems and conflicts are highly relevant far beyond its borders. Thus, The Intercept Brasil has two goals: to enhance public understanding of this vital country, and to provide a platform to great Brazilian journalists and writers to provide essential information to their fellow citizens about the political, social, and economic debates in their country.