RSF decries new interferences in the administration of the Brazilian Public Broadcaster (EBC)

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) deplores Acting President Michel Temer’s decision today to issue a decree arbitrarily firing Ricardo Melo as head of the Brazilian Communication Agency (EBC).


Update/ 2 september 2016

On 2 September 2016, the Brazilian government imposed a decree establishing a series of changes in the administration of the Brazilian Public Broadcaster (EBC). The Provisional Measure, signed by the lower house speaker, Rodrigo Maia, who is currently the acting President of Brazil while Michel Temer is attending the G20 meeting in China, dismissed the EBC’s Conselho Curador (Curator Council), a internal body mostly made up of civil society representatives, with the attribution to ensure the autonomy of public communication. The decree also states that all members of the directors board can now be dismissed by the President of Brazil.

The EBC’s current chief executive officer, Ricardo Melo, was replaced by Laerte Rímoli. This was the second attempt to fire Melo since he started his mandate this year. On 17 May, Michel Temer dismissed him, but he was later reinstated on appeal by a Supreme Court’s decision that highlighted the importance of keeping EBC's independence.

We condemn the changes imposed to the Brazilian Public Broadcaster by the government,

said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of RSF’s Latin America desk.

Instead of reinforcing the autonomy of public communication in the country, these new measures are weakening it further".


Melo, who is a journalist, was legally appointed to the position of EBC director-general two weeks ago by Dilma Rousseff before she was suspended as Brazil’s president for her impeachment trial.

According to the law that created the EBC, its director-general is appointed for a four-year term that is not linked to elections or changes of government. Brazil’s president does not have the power to fire an EBC director-general and name a new one. This is supposed to guarantee the impartiality and autonomy of the agency, which is in charge of all state communication.

We condemn this decision by President Temer, which is both arbitrary and contrary to Brazilian law,” said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of RSF’s Latin America desk.

It is a clear attempt to interfere in public communication in Brazil. Information must be produced in an autonomous manner, without interference or manipulation by politicians. The EBC’s credibility is at stake.”

According to the latest reports, Temer has already chosen the journalist Laerte Rimoli to replace Melo. Rimoli was the press officer of Eduardo Cunha, the former speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, during the proceedings that suspended Rousseff. He was also part of the campaign team of Aécio Neves, Rousseff’s main challenger in the last presidential election.

Brazil is ranked 104th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index.

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Updated on 03.11.2016