British TV stations have decamped to Brazil.
With a close eye on Copenhagen and Brazil’s key role in the process, at least two major British stations have been here filming programs and news spots. Channel Four have been here for two weeks putting together a series of reports that included an interview with Lula. And Sky TV News are here this week in São Paulo and will spend next week in Acre. The BBC has a permament team here.
I spent some time working with the crew from Sky. We filmed in the centre of SP to capture some of the colour and energy of the city and also wento to a shopping district to film some of the consumerism that has pushed Brazil’s growth over the last few years. We got some great background shots from the top of Banespa building, SP’s highest, and we spoke to students studying English. We also went to a favela to film what hasn’t been done.
One issue that has annoyed Sky has been getting equipment into the country. Although visiting journalists do not need visas to do news stories, a lot of their TV equipment has been held up because Brazilian customs or immigration officials don’t know their own laws. Even though the Brazilian embassy in London told their own officials they are in the wrong and that the equipment should pass through customs it has still not been released, causing huge headaches.
While fretting over this, the Sky producer told me that when they were planning this trip his bosses noted that they hadn’t been to Brazil for a while. “Hmmm,” he said, sarcastically. “I wonder why.”
Such bureacratic snafus are completely avoidable. What’s most worrying for Brazil in terms of the big picture is that petty bureacrats still feel emboldened enough to ignore the country’s laws when it suits them.
Cynics would say they are doing it to get a bribe. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t create a good first impression with exactly the people responsible for shaping Brazil’s image overseas.