The newly confirmed Brazilian government has proposed a measure that would change the structure and autonomy of the public broadcaster.

On September 2, the Brazilian government – now led by Michel Temer – published a provisional measure, the MP 744,  that undermines the future and autonomy of the country’s public broadcaster,  Empresa Brasileira de Comunicação (EBC). The government proposed the changes on the grounds that the EBC was being used for political purposes and was biased in its reporting.

One of the main changes proposed with the MP 744, is the removal of the Board of Trustees, which currently ensures that the principles, the diversity, and the autonomy of the EBC are respected. Its dismissal would significantly undermine EBC’s autonomy as the Federal government would have more control when it comes to setting the production, programming and distribution of content by the public broadcaster.

Over the past eight years, the Board of Trustees – composed of 22 members among which representatives of various sectors of the civil society, the National congress as well as government and some of the company’s employees – has been responsible for a series of new initiatives within the EBC. In fact, the Board established the EBC radio and encouraged the production of content that includes and is of interest to youth, indigenous communities, LGBT+ groups and other communities throughout the country.

The Board of Trustees, recently wrote a statement against the proposed changes. The measure is “an affront to the constitutional principles that establish public communication as a right of Brazilian society,” they affirmed.

With the MP 744, the president would also have the power to nominate and exonerate the executive directors of the EBC.  The government already seeks to remove once again the CEO of the EBC Ricardo Melo and replace him with Laertes Rimoli.   Melo was previously fired by Temer’s government and reinstated by the Supreme Court (Supremo Tribunal Federal – STF) that ensured the legality of that mandate.

Members of the EBC and the Board of Trustees said they will be “firmly defending” the organization and public media in the upcoming weeks to prevent the implementation of the provisional measure.