Most of what has been reported out of Brazil is protesters vandalizing stores or doing enough damage to warrant pepper spray, tear gas and rubber bullets from the police. However, there have also been peaceful protests in some of the country’s larger cities that haven’t received as much attention.
O Globo, one of the top Brazilian newspapers, did mention one of them briefly before expanding on the more violent displays of dissatisfaction. “São Paulo was divided. On one side, millions of people peacefully protested in the Praça da Sé,” it reported. “On the other, a group of teenagers went to the streets to transform the city into a war zone.”
For the most part, though, the images the Brazilian media has reported are displays of angry rioters setting police stands on fire and robbing stores.
“I’m seeing reports of “protest” and lamenting that these opportunistic vandals are tarnishing the image of those who go in peace,” @tudosapatilha posted on Twitter.
Some are pointing at the government as the main force behind this lopsided coverage of the ongoing protests, in order to ‘demonize’ the protesters.
The demonstrations began on Thursday of last week as a result of frustrations over rising bus fares, though people have since begun fighting for different and more personal reasons. “It’s not just 20 cents,” many Brazilians tweeted and posted on Facebook, emphasizing that Brazil’s problems go much deeper than a relatively costly bus ride.
“It’s so good to see that Brazilians are FINALLY seeing the reality, when before they let the media and the government sweep everything under the rug,” @poxavidabiaa_ posted on Twitter.
For the past few months, Brazilian officials have been reaffirming to the rest of the world that the country is on track to host the FIFA World Cup in less than a year. The Brazilian population has noticed the government’s focus as it funnels most of the taxpayers’ money into soccer stadiums rather than improving the country’s health or education systems.
“The media is largely responsible for the “dissatisfaction” of Brazilians. It lies, distorts and misinforms. It’s perverse with the government!”@midiacrucis tweeted.
One of the protesters’ main slogans is “O gigante acordou,” which means “the giant woke up.”
In its 2013 World Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders determined that Brazil’s mainstream media had “noticeable problems,” mostly due to its unhealthy relationship with the government.
“Its media landscape is… badly distorted,” the report stated. “Heavily dependent on the political authorities at the state level, the regional media are exposed to attacks, physical violence against their personnel and court censorship orders, which also target the blogosphere.”