transfer 18(1) » Medieninhalte

The Country of What Future?

Environmental Reporting by Traditional News Outlets and Citizen Media in Brazil

This master thesis focuses on the coverage of environmental issues in Brazil, namely the new Forest Code and hydroelectric power plants, by citizen media and mainstream media. Through Critical Discourse Analysis and qualitative interviews, I assert the discursive differences and similarities between both types of media (RQ 1), as well as the way discourses of progress and sustainable development appear in the articles (RQ 2). The sample comprises a total of 440 articles from five different sources: the websites of the magazines CartaCapital and Época represent mainstream media, while websites Blog do Sakamoto, Diário do Verde and Global Voices represent citizen media. The coverage of environmental issues in the country proved to be an interesting case, permeated by a variety of themes and perspectives, often brought up as part of a discussion about the country’s future.
An important finding was that Brazilian mainstream media are starting to react to citizen media, while citizen media also adopt procedures previously considered typical for mainstream media. The Brazilian media landscape might be changing and, with it, the country’s public sphere.
As the scholarship on citizen media has been focusing mainly on their role in authoritarian regimes, this analysis aims to make a contribution to the field by analyzing how guarantees of freedom of expression already provided by law play out in a young democracy, marked by social inequalities and concentration of media ownership.