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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Against the coup : Mídia NINJA and the fight for democracy in Brazil Teixeira Castro Corrêa, João Vitor


The impeachment of Brazil’s former president Dilma Rousseff on August 31, 2016 points to the end of a cycle in Brazilian politics (Domingues, 2016). Many Brazilians have lost their trust in institutional politics, and no longer feel represented (Barbosa, 2015; Barbosa et al, 2016; Da Luz, 2015; Domingues, 2016; Friedman, E. J. & Hochstetler, K., 2002). In a sense, it is a clash of the new Brazil with the old (Ituassu, 2013). A series of mass demonstrations have taken the streets of Brazil since 2013, representing the tipping point of a new wave of social movements in the country (Telles, 2016). New opportunities arise for civil disobedience and experimentation, and social media has been deemed as playing a crucial role in this ongoing process — a counter-narrative to traditional, Brazilian mainstream media, and a successful venue for connecting civil society to the political sphere (Ituassu, 2013). Among the groups that have emerged as key actors during this recent period of protests is Mídia NINJA, a reference to ancient Japanese warriors and an acronym for Independent Narratives Journalism and Action, a non-corporate, non-profit media group run by citizen journalists spread across over 100 cities in Brazil (Mídia NINJA, n.d.), with more than 2,000 collaborators. Armed with smartphones and video cameras, the group has sought to shape the news agenda by engaging millions of people online and articulating a counter-narrative to corporate media. This research project explores how the new online media ecology, made possible by the advent of the Internet, disrupts and inaugurate new possibilities for journalism, civic engagement and social justice activism through a case study of Mídia NINJA, utilizing both computational and manual methods of data gathering and interpretation (Hermida et al., 2013).

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