Journalist groups criticize Brazilian state's creation of a communications council

On Jan. 10, Bahia became the first Brazilian state to establish a Social Communication Council characterized as a "consultative and deliberative" body charged with creating a state communication plan, reported the newspaper A Tarde.

The council has 27 members, including representatives from the government, businesses and the sector, explained the news site DCI.

According to Bahia's governor, Jaques Wagner, and the state communication secretary, Robinson Almeida, who also serves as the council's president, the council is not aimed at limiting or controlling the press, but rather strengthening the communications market and generating more jobs, reported Agência Estado.

However, the Brazilian Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters released a statement criticizing the creation of the council, calling it unconstitutional for putting decisions related to communications issues in the hands of the government. "The Brazilian Constitution is clear in ensuring the exercise of freedom of speech and press, of thought and opinion, without any censorship, licensing, or control," the statement said.

The National Association of Newspapers also came out in opposition to the council. In response to government attempts to adopt bills regulating the press, the association established a self-regulation program for newspapers in May 2011.

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