From Brazil to the UK, corporate media is a threat to democracy

Filmmaker Victor Fraga has documented the way the corporate media in Brazil undermined the democratic process by falsely attacking the left and paving the way for the far right. Much the same process can be seen in the UK.

The UK premiere of Fraga’s documentary, The Coup d´État Factory, takes place on Sunday 29 May at the BFI in London.

Video transcript

My first feature The Coup d’Etat Factory is a documentary about fake news and media bias in Brazil, drawing pertinent parallels to the rest of Latin America and the UK.

We’ve seen the big media nearly destroy Brazilian democracy. The media in Brazil has a history of lying and manipulating, and for a hundred years it has been staging coup d’etats. 

In 2016 it staged a parliamentary coup d’etat. In 2018. It played a pivotal role in the political imprisonment of Lula, paving the way for the election of Bolsonaro. Lula is the most popular president in the history of Brazil, and he was set to win the elections in the first round in 2018. The media were not very happy with a left-wing government that had won four consecutive elections, thereby they helped to stage a very careful Lawfare campaign.

What is a lawfare campaign? A Lawfare campaign is when you weaponise the justice system is when you frame someone for wrongdoing, for crimes which they did not commit. So they put Lula in prison and they elected Bolsonaro which is one of the most reactionary heads of state in the world. He’s a neo fascist president, someone who openly advocates torture, dictatorship, who is who is very vocal and overtly racist, misogynistic, homophobic. So all of the worst qualities you can think of.

Read on...

So the media created this monster by destroying the democratic institutions in Brazil, by poisoning the population against the left, by constantly repeating the C word, corruption corruption, corruption, corruption, and therefore convincing people that the left-wing, particularly the Worker’s Party of Brazil, is a criminal organisation and creating a literal culture of hate. Brazil got to a point where you couldn’t wear red on the streets. You would be considered a communist. This may sound extreme, it is accurate, and the media is responsible for creating that culture of hate.

That media bias we’re talking about is not confined to Brazil by any means.

We have seen parallels in other parts of Latin America, which is something my film discusses as well, and we have seen very pertinent parallels in the UK, particularly the way the media portrayed Jeremy Corbyn as an extremist, as a far-left leader with Russian inclination, someone who was anti-patriotic and so on. Sadly what’s happening in Brazil is not exclusive, is not confined to what we like to think as the developing world.

So the film ultimately raises a lot of questions about media balance. What should we really implement media balanced legislation, or could that backfire? I mean, ah, the media are really, really intrinsically against the left. And what can we do in order to stop history from repeating itself? We’ve seen coup d’etats in Brazil and in pretty much every Latin American country in the past hundred years, always enthusiastically supported by the media who is almost invariably owned by billionaires, and also with the tacit support from the United States.

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