With presidential elections scheduled for October, the government is wary that violence and censorship have eroded human rights. Scrutiny from media industry groups and press freedom advocates, both domestic and international, has prompted Rousseff’s administration to take action, primarily by forming a working group in late 2012 to investigate attacks on the press and issue recommendations to the federal government.
Located on the steep hillsides, the favelas of Rio de Janeiro are being targeted for demolition because of their prime real estate value and because the people living in these settlements are often impoverished and lack formal land rights. Under Brazilian law, these residents should be compensated for their lost property, but even in the cases in which remuneration or alternative housing is offered, it is far from adequate.2 The former residents of Favela do Metrô are only a fraction of the more than 8,000 residents who have been evicted across Brazil in preparation for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, and the more than 150,000 people who face eviction over the next four years to make way for $6 billion worth of new infrastructure and redevelopment.3 In Rio, several communities have already been demolished.
Social media is an irreversible phenomenon of unprecedented scale. It has already affected social behaviour more than many other technological breakthroughs. Social media are everywhere, including in the workplace, in the company’s systems and equipment, but also in the employees’ portable devices. That is why the mere blocking of social media websites by the companies does not prevent the employee from using their particular cellphones to access them while working or even post a comment about the company from the personal computer at any other time. This is an issue of growing importance in Latin America. With its improving internal revenue, the region, and particularly Brazil, is the home of several avid users of the different forms of social media. In 2013, Facebook had 156 million users in Latin America, with 56 million users in Brazil alone. Brazil also ranks second in number of Twitterusers in Latin America, with more than 33.3 million. Moreover, according to Reuters’ Digital News Report 2013, 60% of Brazilian respondents said social media was one of the top five ways in which they view news online, compared to 30% in the US, and 17% in the UK. Brazilians are also particularly enthusiastic about commenting on news stories posted on social networks; 38% of respondents said they comment on news items via social media at least once a week, compared to 21% in the US, and 10% in the UK. Further growth is all but guaranteed, Brazil has a population of around 200 million; this means that more than 30% of the country’s inhabitants have an account with at least one social media platform. Other countries in Latin America also show impressive figures: Mexico ranks second in the social media market, with 35.6 million users; while Argentina ranks third, with 17.4 million users. According to US market research firm eMarketer, by 2017 the number of Mexicans and Argentines using social media will reach 56.3 and 22.5 million respectively; Brazil will have approximately 91 million users. Considering that social media is a relatively new addition to Latin American workplaces, companies are still learning how to deal with the phenomenon in a satisfactory manner. It is perhaps incumbent for businesses, whether they are national or international, and their in-house counsel to consider recent guidance on social media usage in the workplace in these three jurisdictions.