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News > Brazil

Bolsonaro Shuts Down Radio MEC, Brazil's Oldest Station

  • President Jair Bolsonaro attends an evangelical in Sao Paulo, Brazil June 20, 2019.

    President Jair Bolsonaro attends an evangelical in Sao Paulo, Brazil June 20, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 6 July 2019

Known for being an integral part of Brazilian heritage, MEC radio was founded in 1923 and is considered the country's first station.

The historic "Music, Education and Culture"(MEC) Radio, Brazil’s first radio station which was founded in 1923 and donated to the federal government in 1936, was shut down by the Brazilian Communications Broadcaster (EBC), as part of the changes made by right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro. 


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"In its crusade against culture in the country, the Bolsonaro administration extinguishes Radio MEC... the radio of classical music, reports on history, interviews with erudite personalities. Brazil is impoverished and falls at a gallop," journalist Hildegard Angel lamented.

“Besides killing the body of the poor by hunger and unemployment, he wants now to kill their soul, refusing them spiritual and cultural food, closing Radio MEC. How long will the country witness this devastation?,” Leonardo Boff asked, the world-wide famous Brazilian liberation theologist.

The Rio de Janeiro Radio Society, Radio MEC, was inaugurated on April 20, 1923 by the anthropologist and physician Edgar Roquette Pinto, who received help from the Brazilian Academy of Sciences.

It was initially supported by voluntary contribuitions provided by private philanthropists, most of whom also gave away their discs to the radio frequently.

"The goal was to build a radio station in the service of education and culture," recalled Paulo Henrique Amorin, a Brazilian blogger.

"Culture of Fear is installed. Bolsonaro shut down Radio MEC. By doing so, the facist milicia can get 'likes' by increase information which post fake news and releases violence. It wins thanks to people's anxiety, depression, panic syndrome and paranoia." The meme reads, "In a place where there are no cultural activities, violence becomes the spectacle."

After 96 years of broadcasting, MEC Radio managed to collect some 50,000 records and productions, an asset of recordings that includes not only music but recordings of Brazilian historical figures such as Getulio Vargas, a lawyer who was elected several times presidency between 1930 and 1945.

The MEC Radio signal will be turned off on July 31, although the closure has not been officially confirmed to the station's employees, as reported by Brasil de Fato.

This traditional radio was part of the EBC, a holding of public media which was created in 2007 during the presidency of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the Workers Party (PT) leader who remains a political prisoner since 2018.

"Our programming is totally focused on the diffusion of Brazilian culture. It includes all the diversity of Brazilian music, such as choro, regional music, instrumental and concert music. It also has programs dedicated to literature, cinema, dramaturgy and the arts as a whole," the MEC Radio description states.

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