Brazil | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2004

2004 Scores

Press Status

Partly Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


The country, South America's largest media market, enjoys a vibrant and active press. The constitution guarantees a free press, and the media provide vigorous reporting on controversial issues and government performance. There are hundreds of newspapers and television channels and more than a thousand radio stations. However, media ownership is highly concentrated, with such companies as Globo dominating the market in both print and broadcast media. The government has licensing authority, and some politicians frequently obtain licenses; former congressional members overseeing communications are reported to own many broadcast and print media outlets. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, during the year the government telecommunications agency, ANATEL, closed many community radio stations that were operating without a license; however, more than 4,000 small radio stations complained that they had applied for licenses in 2003 without any response from the agency. The ministry of communications responded by creating a working group to investigate these complaints. There has been an increase in defamation lawsuits and an increasing trend of plaintiffs seeking high reparation awards. The National Newspaper Association, citing the huge fines for libel and possible jail sentences, has pushed for an updated press law. High on the radar screen among journalists in Brazil is the increasing incidence of violence and harassment against journalists. Four journalists were killed over a period of two months in 2003, and two journalists were killed in 2002. Many international press advocacy organizations claim that Brazil, especially in the rural areas, is one of the most dangerous Latin American countries for the practice of journalism in terms of attacks, threats, pressures, and obstruction of information.