Different projects can guarantee greater popular representation or more concentration of power
Elections allow the appearance of people willing to represent us in Brazilian institutional spheres. This discourse of representativeness is standard, and does not always materialize in reality. This is because most candidates represent interests that they do not always publicly expose. One of the forms of verification is to observe the funders of the applications, who sometimes demand political counterparts. Another way is to analyze the assets and private interests of the candidates themselves.
In this year’s elections in Bahia, there is a curious situation with regard to policies and interests in the area of social communication and media. The family of the candidate for the state government, ACM Neto, is the founder of Rede Globo’s affiliate, TV Bahia. To intensify the aforementioned perception, its candidate for vice-governor, Ana Coelho, is one of the owners of TV Aratu, an affiliate of SBT in Bahia. It is a slate that unifies the private media in the dispute for the Bahian government. It is true that politicians should not have control over the State’s means of communication, since there is a clash of interests due to the type of service provided. The impact of having an electoral slate with such media strength can generate an imbalance in the presentation of candidacies, in addition to compromising a fundamental sector for the improvement of democratic quality, the strengthening of Public TV.
This type of candidacy, if successful, can impact on a project that has been implemented for some years and that tends to represent a counterpoint to this situation: It is the Public TV of the State, TV Educativa da Bahia, which is strengthened in the recent years and consolidates its coverage throughout the State of Bahia. In addition to partnerships with universities, there is a prioritization of socio-educational and cultural programs, which give visibility to Bahian and Brazilian audiovisual production. In 2019, in a period of economic crisis, the PT government invested BRL 7 million in a project to expand the TVE signal across the interior of Bahia. The radio educator in Bahia also had expanded coverage, in addition to a channel for students from the state network to attend classes, something fundamental at the height of the covid-19 pandemic.
A case that illustrates the role of TV Pública is the broadcasting of the Bahia football championship. When it held the license to broadcast, until 2020, open private TVs played around 10 championship matches, whose commercial part interested them. In 2022, TVE broadcast almost 50 games, live, of the competition, giving visibility to teams from the interior and moving the entire state of Bahia. The largest broadcast of state championships in the country. In addition to football being the national sport, cultural and sporting incidence is a reality in people’s daily lives and a TV that seeks to portray the living space of the people of that state, fulfilling its public function.
This antagonism of perspectives is one of the countless points in which the election of one candidate or another goes far beyond the figure or charisma of an individual, but involves different projects that can guarantee greater popular representation or more concentration of power.
The case of TVE Bahia is an example, but it serves as a parameter for countless candidacies that have the same profile and, once elected, can compromise consolidated projects of public interest in the face of private interests. Let’s be aware of that!
Editing: Glauco Faria