Brazilian Senate approves bill that would require journalists to have a degree in journalism
After arguments from the National Federation of Journalists (Fenaj in Portuguese) and similar journalist groups, senators approved a bill to amend the Constitution that requires practicing journalists to have an advanced degree on Nov. 30, reported G1. There were 65 votes in favor; seven against.
The degree requirement was defeated by the Supreme Federal Court in June 2009. Despite Minister Gilmar Mendes' statement that any attempt to oblige degree requirements to practice journalism would be declared unconstitutional, the bill returned to the Brazilian Congress and easily passed the Brazilian House of Deputies and, now, the Senate.
Fenaj President Celso Schröder was pleased by the vote. "This represented the Senate's desire to correct an historic error by the Court against the professional characterization of journalists," he said in a public statement on the group's website.
The amendment still needs to pass a second plenary session in the Senate and return to the Chamber of Deputies, where it will have to go through two more rounds of voting, according to the website Último Segundo. If it's modified in the Chamber, it will have to be voted on again in the Senate.
Groups like the Inter American Press Association and the Brazilian Association of Journalists see the return of degree requirements as an attack on freedom of expression and free speech guaranteed by the Federal Constitution.