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How Public Television Became Revolutionary: The case of Portugal 1974-1976

from artist João Abel Manta
Wednesday, March 15, 2023, 5:40 pm – 7:00 pm

In this talk, I will analyze the changes occurring in Portuguese television (RTP) after the military coup of 25 April 1975 that brought democracy to the country after 48 years of a conservative right-wing dictatorship. Television, as well as other media outlets, became deeply immersed in the political struggle following the coup, gaining a status of a political actor. The context was crucial for journalism to engage in a discussion about its role in society. I focus on two axes: on the one hand, television as a platform where new social actors – the new political leadership and a diverse community constructed as "the people" – gain visibility; on the other hand, television as a conveyor of public history, mobilized to “help” people understand and interpret the former regime. But, surprisingly (or not), this was the most contested role, since defining the victims and the perpetrators became a topic of dissent and led to new censorship regulations.

Carla Baptista is an Associate Professor in Communication Sciences at NOVA FSCH in Lisbon and a senior researcher at ICNOVA. She teaches Media History and Journalism Ethics in the undergraduate course and Media, Journalism and Technology in the Communication Sciences Master.  Carla Baptista is also a freelance journalist and a member of the editorial board of the Portuguese edition of the newspaper Le Monde Diplomatique. She is the author of several books, including Journalists, from the Craft to the Profession (2007), Living Memories of Journalists (2009) and Death and Resurrection of Political Journalism (2011). She wrote chapters for several books, namely Gender in Focus: New Trends on Media (2016), Feminine Politics (2018), Press, Political Crisis and Coup in Brazil (2019), Women in the International Film Industry (2020) and Transforming Magazines (2022). Her research interests include media and journalism history; media, gender and politics; and media and culture. She is currently working on a project funded by the Portuguese Science Foundation on Portuguese journalism history, including women’s press publications across the XX century.