Felipe José Porciuncula Lins

Ashoka Fellow
Brazil,
Fellow Since 1992
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Citation

This profile was prepared when Felipe José Porciuncula Lins was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1992.
The New Idea
The citizen and grassroots organizations that have appeared since the end of Brazil's military regime twelve years ago have been raising and defining major public issues, as well as advocating solutions to problems. Some of these groups are good at mobilizing, and giving voice to, public opinion. Others do solid analytical work.These new organizations should be important news sources for Brazil's media, and the media should be an important resource for the activist citizen groups. Felipe wants to build bridges between them, thereby strengthening the media, the citizens social change movement, and democracy.In order to do this, the media and the citizens groups need to become aware of the needs, strengths, and weaknesses of the other. Felipe's news agency helps both to understand the organizational and institutional incentives that explain the behavior of each other. For example, the press must believe that the information given to it by citizen groups is reliable. This has not been the case in the past. To meet this need, Felipe supplies the media with issue packets, and helps citizen groups to develop investigative reporting skills.Felipe's People's News Agency will cover community associations, unions, and groups advocating new policies and approaches in fields as diverse as education and local security. Access to information is the agency's purpose, as Felipe explains: "The effort behind this work, in truth, is to make it possible for the population, particularly the most needy, to have access to this information in a way that stimulates social action."
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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