Right to Communication, Freedom of Expression and Social Media: the difficult and multiple challenge


The presentation focused on the challenges for Communication and Democracy taking into account the influence of Internet and current ways of production, distribution and access information. Since the Oxford Dictionaries defined 'post-truth' as the word of the year in 2016, a different field of debate, research and controversy has opened up for ethics, politics, culture and academia that, incorporated into common sense, would be mistakenly called 'fake news'. Mistakenly because its origin was not journalism and itsnews production system, but what was conventionally called 'social networks', today more appropriately called social media: Facebook, Google, Twitter and WhatsApp. 

To try to be more precise, the initial definition put forward by the Oxford Dictionaries, 'post-truth' referred to circumstances in which objective facts would be less influential in the formation of public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal beliefs. The choice of the traditional English university for post-truth, an idea that had been circulating in academic and literary circles since at least the 1990s, came about in the light of two political campaigns that had agitated the British and American political circles in 2016, that of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. In those period, journalism, which, although never perfect, was always guided by formal, legal and regulatory norms, and informal, its codes of ethics, was run over by the power of direct communication ensured by the networks, without any kind of supervision by the institutions. 

State and government, between unrestrained political interests and the public. Since then, in a very short space of time, issues have worsened in other political scenarios, such as Brazil since the 2018 presidential election. According to Gerbaudo (2018), the problem occurs because social media favored populist movements based on the logic that the algorithm created, in which focus is given to a specific theme for dispersed people, thus forming a new political community from the crowds created by the atomization of neoliberal society. The proposal, then, of this presentation is to contribute to the academic progress on such theoretical, conceptual, political, public policy, and regulatory issues - given its importance for the survival of democracy in today's world. Establishing a dialogue between historical perspectives, such as the MacBride Commission Report, and current reflections, such as the debate on algorithms and artificial intelligence, may offer some possibilities for the actions of regulation and formulation, implementation and evaluation of public policies. As a consequence of this, researching these issues also contributes to teaching and outreach actions that can, at least, reduce noise through the use of media literacy measures.


GERBAUDO, P. Social media and populism: an elective affinity? Media, Culture & Society, v. 40, n. 5, p. 745-753, 2018.

TATAGIBA, L. Os protestos e a crise brasileira: um inventário inicial das direitas em movimento (2011-2016). Sinais Sociais, Rio de Janeiro, v. 11, n. 33, p. 71-98, jan.-abr. 2017.