Indians, blacks, refugees, disabled people. Evangelicals, fathers of saints. Homosexuals, transsexuals. Residents of the many outskirts of Brazil.
These are some of the under-represented social groups not only in the upper echelons of businesses and public bodies, but also in the press itself, including this Folha. In the series E Eu? – Journalism must hear me, members of these sectors of society comment on the relationship with the media and denounce the barriers that hinder their actions in the personal and professional spheres.
With video and textual testimonials, the series is one of Folha’s century-old projects.
In total, 13 members of these groups discuss the most recurring flaws they perceive in the way the press reports – or not – on matters that concern them.
They also report episodes of prejudice and misinformation, although in some cases they see a slow improvement in the overall picture, as Amara Moira, writer and transfeminist activist, said. “Today you see the word transvestite and you are no longer sure that the text speaks of murder, as it did 40 years ago.”
Even so, voices from the periphery, like that of Eduardo Lyra, founder of the Gerando Falcões Institute, continue to be not only little heard but also little understood by journalists. “The press still does not understand the periphery.”
In fact, the peripheries. The difficulty of approaching the complexity of the multiple peripheries also appears in the religious sphere, like Jackson Augusto, activist of black theology, who criticizes the myopia of those who do not perceive the differences between the different manifestations of the evangelical faith in Brazil.
Journalist and researcher Bianca Santana, author of “When I Discovered Black”, criticizes the lack of context in the news, which “contributes to the continuity of the genocide of blacks in Brazil”.
This is what happens, she says, when stories of violence against blacks, for example, do not appear to be linked to structural issues, such as inequality, prejudice and lack of education and health.
For the member of the Antifascist Deliverers movement Paulo Roberto da Silva Lima, the Rooster, the problem is not the journalist per se, but “how journalism works”. How do you criticize companies that pay for ads that support editorial staff?
There are also reviews of the reality coverage of Brazilian women. “Journalistic language is concerned with objectivity,” says poet Stéphanie Borges, “but to what extent does that not reinforce violence?”
In addition, journalism does not pay due attention to the sexuality of older women, according to writer and speaker Isabel Dias.
When commenting on reports on people with disabilities, actress and activist Tabata Contri says that “stories of overcoming” end up distorting the image of this part of the population.
For Veronica Oliveira, a former housekeeper and influencer, the portrayal of cartoons in journalism also affects domestic workers. “There is always a report like ‘the housekeeper’s son graduated in medicine.’ How important is it to say he’s the housekeeper’s son?” He asks. .
The indigenous question is also the theme of the series. “The press must deepen the irregularities committed by the government”, declares the activist Thiago Karai, for whom the Brazilian newspapers, far from the reality of the peoples of origin, end up contributing “to the destruction”.
There are also guidelines that are treated as secondary, such as homophobia in football. For journalist and writer João Abel, the press should discuss what goes on outside of the game and remember that sport “is not separate from society”.
“Journalists must understand that we are not all the same,” says Brazilian-based Syrian engineer Talal al-Tinawi, for whom the press must know how to differentiate the stories of immigrants from different origins, such as Syrians, Haitians and Venezuelans.
All testimonies were recorded in the Folha auditorium in downtown São Paulo throughout January 2021.
Look at them all.