Open letter to national generalist television opinion

We know there is a pandemic – and that instead of allowing people to be decimated in the so-called Third World, SARS-CoV-2 has chosen to be more egalitarian and suffer heavy losses in countries less used to these health crises to suffer.

We know there are no such thing as magic potions – vaccines are not made at the desired rate and drugs are powerful entities in the market.

We know that any one of us or any of our family members and friends can be a victim of the disease, even with repetitive care – physical distance, mask covering mouth and nose, persistent hand washing, maximum containment that this is fear for all causes, including journalists, opinion makers and media leaders.

We also know that the media is in crisis, threatened by social networks, competition for audiences, a lack of newsrooms, the fast pace of work for those remaining and the precarious working conditions of many journalists.

But even knowing all of this, we are pointing out the excessive length of the news broadcasts which is counterproductive in terms of information. We do not accept the aggressive, almost inquisitorial tone that is used in some interviews and that influences the thinking and responses of the respondents. We do not accept the opinion-bound obsession that is supposed to result in receiving the messages to the detriment of a healthy educational concern for information. And we cannot admit the style of indictment that several journalists use to argue against government officials, scientists and even the tireless health workers for allegedly failing to foresee the unpredictable – unknown diseases, virus mutations – or foreseeing definitive measures, solutions that would allow us happy ignoramuses about the needs of the scientific method, without a mask and without fear to go out on the street to imagine the future.

We know there is a pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2, but we also know that there is a difference between information, speculation and spectacle. And between good and bad journalism

Even knowing the importance of information about the pandemic, we cannot accept the incessant showing of guilty parties, the accusatory slander against those responsible for the government and the DGS, the pseudo-news (which only provokes panic) about the “chaos” in us Hospitals, the disaster, the always announced pause, with the hypothetical “choice between who lives and who dies”, the systematic invasion of hospital rooms including wards, the lack of respect for the privacy of the sick, the litany of the number of sick and infected dead, which ultimately trivializes them, the airtime for fake specialists, interviews with people who know nothing about the subject, the repetitive images of needles stuck in forearms, ventilators, ambulances, doctors, nurses and assistants in corridors and hospital rooms . Not to mention the same images repeated over and over on the news of the same day or even several days, or the ubiquity of representatives of the same professional companies more interested in personal advancement than pandemic education.

Anyway, we know that there is a SARS-CoV-2 caused pandemic, but we also know that there is a difference between information, speculation, and spectacle. And between good and bad journalism.

We criticize the obvious political agenda that is legitimate but never adopted on private channels, but absolutely unacceptable on public television.

As citizens, we demand information that respects ethical principles, sobriety and restraint. And above all, that it respects democracy.

Subscribers

Abílio Hernandez, university professor; Alberto Melo, associative director; Alfredo Caldeira, lawyer; Alice Vieira, writer; Ana Benavente, university professor; Ana Maria Pereirinha, translator; António Rodrigues, doctor; António Teodoro, university professor; Avelino Rodrigues, journalist; Bárbara Bulhosa, publisher; Diana Andringa, journalist; Eduardo Paz Ferreira, university professor; Elísio Estanque, university professor; Fernando Mora Ramos, director; Graça Aníbal, teacher; Graça Castanheira, director; Helder Mateus da Costa, director; Helena Cabeçados, anthropologist; Helena Pato, teacher; Isabel do Carmo, doctor; J.-M. Nobre-Correia, university professor; Jorge Silva Melo, director; José Rebelo, university professor; José Reis, university professor; José Vítor Malheiros, Science Communication Consultant; Luís Farinha, researcher; Luís Januário, doctor; Manuel Carvalho da Silva, sociologist; Manuela Vieira da Silva, doctor; Maria do Rosário Gama, teacher; Maria Emília Brederode Santos, educator; Maria Manuel Viana, writer; Maria Teresa Horta, writer; Mário de Carvalho, writer; Paula Coutinho, intensive care doctor; Pedro Campiche, multidisciplinary artist; Rita Rato, director of the Aljube Museum; Rui Bebiano, university professor; Rui Pato, doctor; São José Lapa, actress; Tiago Rodrigues, director; Vasco Lourenço, April’s captain

The authors write according to the new spelling agreement

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