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NetLab UFRJ participates in webinar on media narratives during the fire season in Brazil


Opening slide from the report ‘Where there is smoke there is fire’ / Credits: NetLab UFRJ

Members of the Internet and Social Network Studies Laboratory at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (NetLab UFRJ) participated in a webinar promoted by several civil society organizations dedicated to socio-environmental issues. The event took place this Sunday (02/05) and the researchers were invited to talk about the study “Onde há fumaça há fogo" (Where there’s smoke, there’s fire), from Netlab’s ‘Environment and Climate Change’ line of research.


The study sought to diagnose the dynamics of the disinformation ecosystem in relation to socio-environmental issues, economic use of land, guaranteeing the rights of indigenous peoples and public policies on climate change. The researchers collected all publications on these topics posted during the fire season on news portals associated with the mainstream press and also on smaller portals, related to disinformation scandals in other contexts.


About the research


A critical discourse analysis was carried out, seeking to identify the main characteristics of each of the two sets of news, and also the common points in the coverage of both types of portals. We identified the spread of conspiracy theories involving NGOs and supposed foreign influences in the Amazon, especially presenting a neoliberal bias and strong praise for the army's presence in the region.


Furthermore, the laboratory observed that there was very little coverage on the topics of health, public safety and the impact of fires on the lives of indigenous peoples in the region during the 2020 fire season.

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