A Brazilian social movement is organising a party in São Paulo in defense of the country’s broadcaster.

Public media in Brazil is at risk. The interim government, led by president Michel Temer, announced a series of changes to the Brazilian public broadcaster, Empresa Brasileira de Comunicação (EBC). These included funding cuts, plans to shut down public TV channels, dismantle EBC’s council and the firing of CEO Ricardo Melo, who was later reinstated.

In a bid to protect EBC’s future, the public movement Frente em Defesa da EBC e da Comunicação Pública (Front in Defense of the EBC & Public Communication) will arrange a party in São Paulo today, to defend the institution. “Public media is an instrument that breaks the monopoly of information, it was an achievement of Brazilian people and we need to preserve and advance the possibility of contribution that it has for all the Brazilian people,” said federal deputy Jandira Feghali, who invited everyone to attend the party.

The precarious situation at EBC is concerning many people, inside and outside the media sphere. For example, the leader of the workers’ party (Partido dos Trabalhadores – PT), Humberto Costa, recently expressed his concern over the government’s line of action. “What we are seeing is, step by step, the attempt to dismantle EBC,” he said. “First, they tried to illegally remove the president, Ricardo Melo, and then had to revert this decision because of a court’s order. Now they are trying to change the programs without even consulting the trustee board. This just shows the contempt and reckless management of public media.” According to Costa, Temer’s government has started a process that will see the total dismantling of the company.

The party, which will take place this evening, is open to everyone and will be attended by many broadcasters, media professionals, as well as citizens, LGBT+ groups, cultural minorities, and indigenous communities who are also among the most concerned about the situation. These groups are in favour of maintaining, strengthening and expanding public media, which is widely seen as a neutral and plural space for the public to share their realities.

The presenters of the programme Estação Plural, Fefito, Ellen Oléira and Mel Gonçalves, reminded their viewers that the party is also a political act that aims at building “a better TV; more plural, diverse, fair and inclusive”.

The party will be an occasion for all media professionals, citizens and communities to get together and respond to a situation that is threatening the autonomy of public media in the country. As Costa said “The EBC does not belong to any government. It’s the public’s property. It’s an instrument to guarantee a communication that is public, of good quality and democratic. We cannot let such a heritage to be annihilated.”