Freedom of the Portuguese press during the transition period in Macau
The object of this communication is Freedom of the Portuguese press during the transition period, in Macau from 1987 to 1999. I was a journalist in Macau from 1991 to 2000 (newspapers, radio, television and correspondent of magazine Visão) as well as a Communication Sciences lecturer in the local University (1996-1999). This paper stems from an update of a Master’s thesis pursued for the University of Leicester, UK (2001), never published. The topic was approached in a critical political economy perspective through communication policy research and interviews with editors, journalists and other agents in the communication process. The objective was to understand how the concept of freedom of the press applied locally; to research into private and public policies towards the press; to unveil control and pressure practices coming from political and economic powers and check how these influenced the journalistic practice. I concluded that the transition period created a cultural, political and economical frame that tended to exacerbate the existing tendencies towards press control as well as clashes between press and power. The local government was responsible for most of those constraints, through the control of its own civil servants, through restricting access to sources and distribution of advertising and last but not least, through a patriotic stance that presupposed journalists would be defenders of the national design, even against their professional ethics.
Keywords: freedom of the press; censorship; ownership; libel; transition of Macau.