Friday, February 29, 2008

BBC Brasil celebrates 70 years

BBC Brasil celebrates 70 years of broadcasting with four special debates

BBC Brasil celebrates its 70th anniversary by hosting four special debates in the cities of Brasília and São Paulo starting Wednesday 12 March.

Head of BBC Brasil, Rogério Simões, says: “BBC Brasil is 70, and I am very proud of how far we have come since 1938. Our aim has always been to help our audience understand the relevant issues behind the news and their consequences. In turn our audiences keep telling us that they see us as fresh, innovative and reliable broadcasters, connected to the world and with these debates we aim to prove these credentials once again. Our online operations go from strength to strength and in January 2008 we received 4.2 million visitors to and from content on our Brazilian partner websites. We are also reaching new audiences with video on Bandeirantes TV and our radio output has a loyal listenership. We invite all our radio, online and TV audiences to engage with the debates.”

The BBC Brasil debates will discuss the following subjects:

The Giant Neighbour: Brazil and South America – 9.30am
to 12.30pm (Brazil time) on Wednesday 12 March
Speakers: Rogério Simões, Head of BBC Brasil; Jonathan
Wheatley, Correspondent, Financial Times; Carlos
Chirinos, Venezuela Correspondent, the BBC’s Spanish
American service, BBC Mundo; Fernan Saguier,
Columnist, La Nación; Professor Ricardo Seitenfus,
Specialist in Mercosur trade agreement

Journalism in the 21st Century: Objectivity and Subjectivity - 2.00pm to 4.30pm on Wednesday 12 March Speakers: Gary Duffy, the BBC’s São Paulo Correspondent; Mariza Tavares, Executive Director, CBN Radio Network

Freedom of speech: Limits of Journalism in the 21st Century - 10.30am to 12.30pm on Thursday 13 March Speakers: Sara Beck, Editor, Free to Speak season of programmes marking the 75th anniversary of BBC World Service; Helena Chagas, Journalism Director, TV Brasil; Lucia Newman, Correspondent, Al-Jazeera; Mario Magalhães, Ombudsman, Folha de S. Paulo

The New Journalism: Convergence and Interactivity – 2.00pm to 4.30pm on Thursday, 13 March Speakers: Pete Clifton, Head of Multimedia Editorial Development, BBC; Andrea Fornes, Executive Producer, MSN Brasil; Antonio Prada, Content Director, Terra; Marcia Menezes, Journalism Director, G1

A detailed information about the debates and a registration form is available online at the website

Background information
BBC Brasil entered the world of international news on 14 March 1938 with the words: “... Mister Hitler entered Vienna last night, amid formidable enthusiasm. Standing up, inside his open car, he repeatedly answered, with Nazi greetings, to the crowd's cheering.” The voice belonged to presenter Manuel Braune, who would be known to millions of radio listeners as "Aimberê”.

BBC Brasil was part of the BBC Empire Service which began in 1932 as a shortwave service first broadcasting in English to the outposts of the British Empire. Initially, the BBC Brazilian service was part of the Latin American service, and its programmes were reproductions of the programmes broadcast in English. Back then, half a dozen Latin American journalists made programmes for the whole of Latin America and news in Spanish. During the Second World War, the Latin American service was divided into two parts: one broadcasting to Brazil and the other – to Latin America’s Spanish-speaking countries.

Today BBC Brasil has restructured itself around its online offer, with focus on video content and interactivity. It has around 30 staff based in the UK and Brazil. The London- based team is supported by a global network of BBC correspondents and journalists in key cities across the world. BBC Brasil’s São Paulo-based bureau – the largest news bureau in Brazil – houses a major part of the service’s editorial staff which contributes to the news content and features on air and online.

BBC Brasil has maintained an unparalleled respect and credibility as a source of accurate and balanced information and analysis for Portuguese-speaking audiences throughout the world. Its timely coverage of national and global events includes award-winning programmes such as Children at Work which received the Great Prize Prêmio Ayrton Senna of Journalism, Radio category, in 2004.

BBC Brasil’s radio programmes can be heard in seven daily news bulletins via partner stations CBN and Globo networks and on partner television station Bandeirantes TV while a network of BBC correspondents across the world provide content for its popular 24x7 website, Launched in 1999, the website offers up-to-the minute news and information, features and analysis on the region and the rest of the world, in text, audio and video. Its interactive offer includes major debates, forums, blogs, votes etc.

For further information, please contact:

Linhas&Laudas Comunicação
Telephone: 55 11 3801.1277

Christine George
BBC World Service
Telephone: +44(0) 207557 1142
(Source: HCDX)