Proportion of negative reports about Brazil abroad grows


Critical coverage of the Brazilian election campaign led to an increase in the proportion of news with a negative tone about the country in the foreign press.

For the first time since June, when the assassination of Dom Phillips and Bruno Araújo took the international image of Brazil in the foreign press to its worst moment, the amount of negative texts surpassed the neutral ones and became the majority of mentions of the country.

In the week of September 19 to 25, the total number of news from the collection of data from the Index of International Interest —or iii-Brazil— was 48 articles with mentions about Brazil in the seven foreign press vehicles analyzed.

The period recorded 54% of texts with a negative tone, with the potential to worsen the country’s international image. In addition, 40% of the articles analyzed had a neutral tone — that is, matters of a factual nature about the country, without any indication of damage to its reputation abroad. There was still 6% of positive news, with the potential to improve the country’s image.

The negative tone was boosted especially by reports about the Brazilian election campaign, including opinion pieces. In the Portuguese newspaper Público, for example, Brazilian actor Paulo Betti says he is “very concerned about the real threats to our democracy in Brazil”.

In Spanish El País, a report talks about the “shadow” of the military over the electoral system. In the British The Guardian, President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) is criticized for using techniques to frighten voters in relation to his opponent.

An important and negative highlight in the international press throughout the week was the proliferation of fake news in Brazil on the eve of the vote. In the French Le Monde, a report accuses the president’s campaign of manipulating information and propagating fake news to try to attract votes. “The disinformation machine is in full swing,” he says.

The Argentine Clarin deals with the same issue, but says that, in addition to the president, his rival Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) also “floods the TV with fake news”. Público says that the two candidates abuse “incorrect information” in their campaigns.

Still, Clarín addresses a certain concern after the elections in Brazil: it is feared that in Brasilia, when it proclaims the winner on October 2nd, “it will be the target of violent protests if ex-President Lula wins”.

Bolsonaro’s trips to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, in the United Kingdom, and to the UN General Assembly, in the US, were also the subject of reports with a negative editorial frame.

El País says the president has turned the trips into campaigning. Clarin also spoke about the electoral purpose of the trips. Público points out that the use of the pulpit by the president, in the General Assembly, appeared as a speech at the campaign rally, as if it had been held in some Brazilian state.

Since the beginning of April, iii-Brasil, when studying the international image of Brazil, collected and analyzed an average of 55 articles per week with prominent mentions of the country in the seven press vehicles analyzed.

Over the last 24 weeks, iii-Brasil recorded an average of 50% neutral reports, 39% negative mentions and 11% positive texts about the country.

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