Area Handbook for Portugal

By Eugene K. Keefe; David P. Coffin et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 11
MASS COMMUNICATIONS

The mass communications media, restrained under nearly fifty years of authoritarian government, underwent a radical transformation in the revolutionary period after the coup d'etat of April 25, 1974. Any material compiled about the Portuguese press, radio, and television before that date is useful in a historical sense but has been made obsolete by subsequent events. One of the first acts of the revolutionary government was to abolish the censorship that had prevailed since 1926, but the habit of government interference in the flow of information was difficult to break. Freedom of the press was restricted in several areas under interim laws that were maintained by successive provisional governments, supposedly in the interests of public order, military discipline, and the promotion of ideological pluralism in the media. After a turbulent period of experimentation with worker participation in management of the media and the formulation of editorial policy, the status of the press, radio, and television and their relations to the state were regularized in the Constitution that went into effect in April 1976.

Through the Ministry of Social Communication and Culture the government can exert influence on the operation, management, and political direction of the state-owned newspapers and news agency, the public radio network, and television. The state acquired financial control over eight daily newspapers in Lisbon and Porto when it nationalized the banking houses that had previously owned them and had been operating them at a loss. A heavy public subsidy has since been required to keep these newspapers in business. Only three nationally circulated dailies and an increasingly popular weekly press remained in private hands. Prompted by an attempted left-wing coup in November 1975, the provisional government headed by Prime Minister José Pinheiro de Azevedo dismissed the editorial staffs and temporarily suspended publication of several state-owned Lisbon newspapers on grounds of biased reporting. The staffs were subsequently reorganized, and the newspapers resumed publication. Since the beginning of 1976 the state-owned press has operated under a unique system devised to provide ideological balance, under which political orientations were assigned by the government to particular newspapers.

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Area Handbook for Portugal
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Foreword iii
  • Preface v
  • Country Profile vii
  • Portugal xi
  • List of Illustrations xii
  • List of Tables xiii
  • Chapter 1 - General Character of the Society 1
  • Chapter 2- Historical Setting 13
  • Chapter 3 - Physical Environment 59
  • Chapter 4 - Population and Living Conditions 81
  • Chapter 5 - Social System 115
  • Chapter 6 - Religious Life 139
  • Chapter 7 - Education and the Arts 167
  • Chapter 8 - Governmental System 193
  • Chapter 9 - Political Dynamics 221
  • Chapter 10 - Foreign Relations 257
  • Chapter 11 - Mass Communications 299
  • Chapter 12 - Character and Structure Of The Economy 311
  • Chapter 13 - Agriculture and Industry 333
  • Chapter 14 - Trade, Transportation, and Services 357
  • Chapter 15 - The Armed Forces 373
  • Chapter 16 - Public Order and Internal Security 397
  • Bibliography 411
  • Glossary 437
  • Index 441
  • Published Area Handbooks 455
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