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Quick Reads + Brazil

Media archive · 999 posts

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Latest stories from Quick Reads + Brazil

Coming Soon! Rising Voices Microgrants for Amazon Communities

Amazon Peru, photo by Pearl Vas  (CC BY 2.0)

Amazon Peru, photo by Pearl Vas (CC BY 2.0)

Rising Voices will be launching a microgrant competition next month for digital citizen media projects in the Amazon region which is home to many indigenous communities. Thanks to Avina Americas, Fundación Avina, and the Skoll Foundation, we'll be offering this support with ongoing mentorship from the Global Voices community.

Read more about the project on Rising Voices and register your interest here.

Citizen media has played an important part in many cultural, political, social and environmental struggles in the region. See some of our past coverage of Amazon communities on the special coverage page: Forest Focus: Amazon.

Delayed Construction Works in Brazil Fuel “(un)Happy” Video

The contagious feeling triggered by Pharrell Williams’ viral music video “Happy” inspired citizens of Porto Alegre, Brazil, to take advantage of the fact that their city holds the Portuguese word for “happy” in its name — but rather to express what's making them unhappy.

The video shows people dancing joyfully in front of delayed construction works for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Watch “Porto (un)Happy” below with captions in English:

Published on March 25, the video has already been watched over 250,000 times. Its creators use the Facebook page Porto un-Happy to promote the hashtag #MudaPOA (Change, Porto Alegre), as well as to collect mentions in the media and to clarify [pt]:

Nosso protesto NÃO é contra a Copa, e sim contra o atraso nas obras e o pouco caso com a população!

Our protest is NOT against the World Cup, but against the delayed construction works and the lack of care towards the population!

On the map We Are Happy From, you will find a video version created by the city's public administration. The video presents a very positive perspective, but it has been less popular, with 50,000 views.

Global Voices also reported on the ironic version of “Happy” from Rio de Janeiro.

Brazilian Congress Approves Pioneering Bill of Rights for Internet Users

Marco Civil has finally been approved in the lower house of Brazil's Congress and next should be voted in Senate. The bill of rights for Internet users became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter, following a large-scale campaign that was promoted during the day of the vote, March 25, 2014, under the hashtags #MarcoCivil and #EuQueroMarcoCivil (I want Marco Civil).

The current version [pdf] of the bill preserves the provisions of net neutrality, freedom of expression and users privacy.

Former Minister of Culture, and famous musician, Gilberto Gil, who gave a face to Avaaz's petition “For a free and democratic Internet“, tweeted:  

We won! #MarcoCivil approved!! For a neutral web, freedom of expression and protection of privacy!

For Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web 25 years ago, this is “the best possible birthday gift for Brazilian and global Web users”. In a statement of support released on the eve of the vote he said the approval of Marco Civil “will help to usher in a new era – one where citizens’ rights in every country around the world are protected by digital bills of rights”:

Like the Web, Marco Civil has been built by its users – the groundbreaking, inclusive and participatory process has resulted in a policy that balances the rights and responsibilities of the individuals, governments and corporations who use the Internet. (…)  ultimately the draft Bill reflects the Internet as it should be: an open, neutral and decentralized network, in which users are the engine for collaboration and innovation.

Brazil's Internet Bill of Rights Ignites Storm of Posts

Activists who support Brazil's bill of rights for Internet users, known as the #MarcoCivil, and who have Facebook or Twitter accounts are invited to participate in a large-scale campaign on social networks to pressure the National Congress to vote on the current version of the bill. An article by Julie Rovono on TechCrunch explains how the lobby of telecom companies is threatening the net neutrality provision.

The mobilization is taking place today, March 25, 2014, under the hashtag #EuQueroMarcoCivil (I want Marco Civil). Voting may take place on the same day, though it has been postponed around 30 times [pt] since 2012. Anyone who wants to take part in the “compartilhaço” (“sharing storm”) can subscribe on the website “Save the Internet” from the social mobilization platform Meu Rio:

Vamos deixar claro para os deputados que a liberdade de expressão, a neutralidade da rede e a privacidade dos usuários não são negociáveis. O texto precisa ser aprovado como está!

Let's make it clear for members of parliament that freedom of expression, network neutrality and users privacy are not negotiable. The bill needs to be approved as it is!

‘The Subject': A New Crowdfunding Tool for Brazil's Independent Media

Aimed at providing an alternative to the traditional business model of media production, a new crowdfunding platform for independent journalism has been launched in Brazil. O Sujeito (The Subject) [pt] is hosted by the crowdfunding website Catarse, which wrote about the new venture [pt] coming at a time of transition for media funding:

O veículo impresso está em crise. O jornalismo não. Assim como sempre haverá música e cinema, independentemente dos grandes produtores, o jornalismo é autônomo em relação aos grandes meios.

Print media is in crisis. Journalism is not. As there will always be music and cinema, regardless of major producers, journalism is autonomous in relation to the big media.

Four projects mark the debut of this new venture: a Free Journalism School for youth; a documentary on Brazilian eco-villages; a publication on how to improve the work environment; and an investigation into people in Brazil who hold advertisement boards on the side of the road.

You can follow @osujeito_ on Twitter, “like” their Facebook page and watch the teaser below [pt]:

“Happy” Video Exposes the Other Side of Rio de Janeiro

Inspired by the ”worldwide contagious happiness” that was sparked by Pharrell Williams’ viral music video “Happy“, as can be seen in hundreds of dancing videos from around the world, Brazilian group of video-makers Jeitinho Carioca (“Shit Cariocas Say”) has created a local version for Rio de Janeiro with a satirical tone. 

Besides showing people dancing with a happy feeling, the video also exposes other not-so-happy current affairs in the city, such as the high cost of living, the racism problem, thievery and violence, as well as the construction works for the World Cup and Olympics. 

Watch “We Are Rio“:

Global Voices has also reported on “Happy” videos of Middle East and North AfricaHong Kong and the Pursuit of Happiness in Africa.

Activists Mobilize for Passage of Brazil's Internet Bill of Rights

Internet rights activists are in Brasilia today to pressure the National Congress to approve the Brazilian bill of rights for Internet users, known as the Marco Civil. One of them is former Global Voices collaborator Diego Casaes, who works with global civic organization Avaaz and wrote on Facebook [pt] before heading to the capital city: 

Hoje a Avaaz se juntou ao grandioso Gilberto Gil e a diversos movimentos e organizações de direitos civis em uma campanha que interessa a todos nós: a aprovação do Marco Civil com a defesa da neutralidade da rede.

Faz mais de 3 anos que eu acompanho o Marco Civil, desde o processo de consulta pública online até o dia em que o PL entrou na Câmara dos Deputados. A votação foi adiada 10 vezes, pelo menos, no que demonstra um embate homérico entre a sociedade civil e as empresas de telecomunicações: do nosso lado, parlamentares que defendem a liberdade na rede e uma série de movimentos civis que lutaram contra vários Golias bilionários, do outro os Golias, as empresas que controlam a estrutura das telecomunicações do Brasil, e que todos os anos lucram quantias absurdas, mesmo oferecendo um serviço ineficiente.

Essa semana muita coisa pode mudar: se aprovarmos o Marco Civil (garantindo a neutralidade da rede) daremos um passo gigante na luta pela nossa privacidade, pelos nossos direitos, e para manter a natureza democrática da internet. 

Eu tô com o Gil, e já assinei. E vou à Brasília falar com os deputados na quarta-feira. Por isso eu peço: assinem e terão a garantia de que haverá pessoas comprometidas com nossos direitos, argumentando, dialogando e fazendo valer a voz do povo no Congresso antes da votação.

Today Avaaz joined the great Gilberto Gil [a famous musician and former Minister of Culture] and many movements and civil rights organizations in a campaign that concerns us all: the adoption of the Marco Civil with the defense of net neutrality.

I have been following the Marco Civil for more than three years, from the process of online public consultation until the day that the bill entered the Chamber of Deputies. The vote has been postponed at least 10 times, which demonstrates a Homeric struggle between civil society and telecommunications companies. On our side, members of parliament who defend net freedom and a series of civil movements that have fought against several Goliath billionaires; on the other side, the Goliaths, the companies that control the structure of telecommunications in Brazil, and that profit absurdly every year, even if they offer inefficient service.

This week a lot can change: if we pass the Marco Civil (guaranteeing net neutrality) we will take a giant step forward in the fight for our privacy, our rights, and to maintain the democratic nature of the Internet.

I am with Gil, and already signed. And I'm going to talk to the deputies in Brasilia on Wednesday. So I ask you: sign and have the assurance that there will be people committed to our rights, arguing, talking and enforcing the people's voice in Congress before the vote.

Avaaz's petition, “For a free and democratic Internet“, has gathered more than 290,000 signatures in less than 24 hours. 

On Twitter, #MarcoCivil, #MarcoCivilJa and #VaiTerMarcoCivil are the main hashtags in use. The topic was trending on the eve of the vote, March 11, 2014. 

Brazil's Carnival Waste: The Day After in Photos

A teen sleeps near his Samba school float. Many of the workers live in the School borough, making this a family tradition, and not only a commercial service. The party in Carnival week never ceases in Rio. With a 24/7 programming, there is almost no time to rest, as the next block is just around the corner. The recent garbage collectors strike leaves traces of trash scattered throughout Rio. Photo by Leonardo Coelho copyright Demotix (4 March 2014)

A teen sleeps near his Samba school float. Many of the workers live in the School borough, making this a family tradition, and not only a commercial service. Photo by Leonardo Coelho copyright Demotix (4 March 2014)

“The party in Carnival week never ceases in Rio,” says Brazilian photographer Leonardo Coelho. But eventually the day comes when the party is over and thus “Rio de Janeiro wakes up to a trashed city after Carnival night“.

That is the title of a photo report by Coelho, which shows the “traces of trash scattered throughout Rio”. In a different set he calls it a “garbage crisis“, due to this year's strike of garbage collectors who are demanding better working conditions and wages.

Another photojournalist, Ale Silva (who also shared pictures of the day after on Demotix), caught on camera a protest staged by around 500 striking garbage collectors in front of Rio's city hall on March 4, 2014. More pictures of the day after can be seen on the website Fotos Públicas here and here.

27 Brazilian Songs Against Police Violence

Brazilian journalist and activist Carlos Carlos posted [pt] a list of the most important “Brazilian songs that denounce the police” on his blog, Bola e Arte. He explains:

Now it is trendy to make lists, right? and amid so many useless lists, Bola e Arte blog has prepared a selection of (Brazilian) songs of all genres (rap, samba, rock, reggae, funk etc…) with direct denouncements of arbitrary actions of police corporations. With so many sharp denouncements, could it be that these are all lies??? Or an effective reality, especially in the peripheries across Brazil (and the world)??

I dedicate this list to the mothers of Movimento Mães de Maio [Mothers of May Movement, that was created after the death of around 500 young people in a police action in the state of São Paulo, May 2006], who have lived (and still live) through these coward, discussing injustices! We're together until the end, against gray rats!!!

The list comes at a time when a widespread debate in Brazil has been sparked by violence in massive protests, following the latest wave of demonstrations that has swept the country since June 2013.

The song below “Who polices the police?”, by “Zumbi Somos Nós”, is one of the 27 tunes that the collaborative list already includes:  

More suggestions can be added in the comments section of Bola e Arte blog.

Amendments to Brazil's Bill of Rights for Internet Users Jeopardizes Privacy

Recent amendments to Brazil's pioneer bill of rights for Internet users, the “Marco Civil da Internet” (Internet Civil Rights Framework), put net neutrality and users’ privacy at stake. The bill is expected to be voted on by Congress during the last week of February 2014.

“Marco Civil with article 16: Brazilian government becomes NSA”. Banner from the #16igualNSA campaign ("article 16 leans towards NSA surveillance").

“Marco Civil with Article 16: Brazilian government becomes NSA”. Banner from the #16igualNSA campaign.

Activists have launched an online campaign asking for the removal of one of the new provisions, Article 16, that mandates service providers to store personal data of their users. The hashtag in use is #16igualNSA (“Article 16 leans towards NSA surveillance”).

Joana Varon, a Brazilian researcher from the Center for Technology and Society at Fundação Getúlio Vargas, points to an article on the PrivacyLatam blog as the “most accurate post in English regarding changes on #privacy protection at #marcocivil“: 

This measure not only contradicts all previous versions of the Bill (which is a work in progress started by a draft generated by a public consultation in 2010). It establishes an unprecedented  duty to all “for profit” Brazilian Internet players who run a site or service to keep private information of their users for 6 months, regardless of any consideration about their users’ consent.

Even if the Bill mention protection measures for the data owners, it is clear that the simple fact of the existence of the mandatory personal data register is, ‘per se’, a danger that users cannot avoid since their free consent would be not taken into account. Moreover, the lack of a general framework for personal data protection makes the whole environment at least very prone to the misuse of personal information.

The Brazilian Institute for Consumer Rights (Idec) created an online petition [pt] asking for “neutrality, privacy and freedom of expression in Marco Civil”. The platform allows sending letters to the Members of Parliament.

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