Parliamentary Intimidation Committee

Image: Jhefferson Santos
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By EUGENIO BUCCI*

The Tarcísio government base wants to install CPI without basis or specific object to investigate the Padre Anchieta Foundation

The government base in the Legislative Assembly of São Paulo opened fire on the TV Culture. On April 17th, at 19:00 pm, it filed Resolution Project No. 9/2024 (Process Number: 9652/2024), with which it intends to create a Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry to investigate “irregularities” at the Padre Anchieta Foundation, holder of TV and Culture Radio from Sao Paulo. Time starts to close. If the CPI is indeed installed, relations between Palácio dos Bandeirantes and the best public TV in Brazil will sour once and for all.

The thing started badly – ​​and it started very poorly explained. There are at least three signs of ineptitude in the Draft Resolution. The first is the absence of an objective event to be investigated. No single specific fact is pointed out, all that is said is that there were “reports of irregularities in management”. But what are the allegations? Nobody counts. All that exists is a vague, indefinite, somewhat random and somewhat random accusation.

Furthermore, even if the allegations were real, it is not clear why a CPI would be necessary immediately. Did the Padre Anchieta Foundation refuse to provide the Assembly or anyone else with any information about its administration? Is the Foundation hiding information? The answer is no. Therefore, there is no reason for such an extreme investigative procedure, which is only justified when clear suspicions of abuse or misuse of funds cannot be clarified in any other way.

The second oversight comes in the statement that “Fundação Padre Anchieta is maintained with public resources”. Again, not quite like that. In part, only in part, their support comes from the Treasury, but in another part – around 50%, on average – the money comes from their own revenues, which have nothing to do with the public authorities.

The third conceptual mistake arises from primary misinformation. Right at the opening, the document asserts that the Foundation would be an entity “under public law”. Wrong. The Foundation, in fact, is regulated by private law. The Federal Supreme Court itself, in a 2019 ruling, described it as a “public foundation under private law” (item 7 of the summary of the decision on Extraordinary Appeal 716.378).

Are parliamentarians unaware of the legal nature of the institution they intend to subject to inquiry? Or are they just sowing confusion to insinuate that, as it is “public law”, the TV Culture should he bow to the authorities?

Hard to find out. What is known, at least so far, is that the parliamentary attack presents inconsistencies in reasoning, precision and knowledge of the facts. It seems that someone there has the purpose not of seeking the truth, but of pressuring, frightening and threatening. After all, if there is no specific fact that inspires serious suspicion and if there is no dark episode that could not be elucidated by ordinary administrative means, why insist on such a pyrotechnic investigative process?

It is known that, in Brazil, the establishment of a CPI is usually accompanied by an atmosphere of police rallies. Will it be on this basis that the São Paulo Legislative Branch will treat a public broadcaster that receives applause and awards everywhere? What should we expect from now on? The shack for the sake of the shack? The strategy is to stifle the activities of the TV Culture? Is an institutional stakeout underway? An obscurantist outbreak? Do the people's representatives not know how to live with the autonomy of a good public broadcaster?

Well, they should know. They should know and teach. The autonomy of TV Culture It is already part of the São Paulo tradition as well as part of positive law. The state law (9.849, of September 26, 1967) that created the Padre Anchieta Foundation took care to provide it, in the first article, with “administrative and financial autonomy”. Journalistic independence came as a natural consequence, which only brought benefits to São Paulo and Brazil. Good news, analytical, educational and cultural programming cannot be created with vassalism.

Finally, as if we didn't already have enough doubts, here's one more: does the governor agree with this arbitrary attack? Could it be the order to cut the Foundation's funding, as has been happening? Will the Executive Branch turn a blind eye to this repeated humiliation?

If there is any sense in the Palácio dos Bandeirantes, the anti-culture escalation will have to be reversed. We still have time to dispel the inquisitorial clouds. A gesture, just a gesture, even if discreet, can change the course of events. TV Cultura has been beaten not because of supposed management “irregularities”, which do not exist, but because it has creative and informative freedom. She does not suffer for her mistakes, but for her successes.

Either we change this situation, or we will only be left with shame – not for television that survives on brightness, pride and limited funding, but for a parliament and a government that have allowed themselves to be instrumentalized by intrigue in the service of intimidation.

* Eugene Bucci He is a professor at the School of Communications and Arts at USP. Author, among other books, of Uncertainty, an essay: how we think about the idea that disorients us (and orients the digital world) (authentic). https://amzn.to/3SytDKl

Originally published in the newspaper The State of S. Paul.


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