Escuridão na Floresta/Sertão Medieval

Country/area: Brazil

Organisation: RecordTV

Organisation size: Big

Publication date: 26/09/2021

Credit: Daniel Motta, Guilherme Mendes, Marcus Reis, Eriercio Furtado Michel Mendes, Marcio Viana, Rodrigo Fávero, Natália Florentino, Camila Babilius, Anthony Barcellos, Gustavo Costa Cristiane Lumi Massuyama, Pablo Toledo,


Daniel Motta is an investigative reporter at the Center for Investigative Journalism at TV Record, the second largest free-to-air television station in Brazil and one of the largest in Latin America. He has a degree in Social Communication, started his career in 2009 and in his 12 years of experience he has also worked in print, digital and radio media. He has already been sent to productions in other countries such as New Zealand, Venezuela, Paraguay, Colombia, Bolivia and Spain. She has been working at TV Record since 2014. He has produced reports of great relevance in the national and international scene and has won important national and international awards, such as the “King of Spain” award, granted by the King of Spain Felipe VI. The award-winning report denounced the existence of a criminal organization known as “Pirates of the Amazon”, which commits crimes and brings a lot of violence to rural communities and lives on the banks of rivers in the Amazon jungle. In total, he has won more than 16 awards. In 2020 he joined CNN Brazil and this year he returned to the investigative core of TV Record. His works especially address issues related to organized crime, human rights violations, slave labor, child labor, drug and arms trafficking, human trafficking, refugees, social inequality, agrarian and indigenous issues, and urban and rural violence. He has participated in trainings at the Thompson Reuters Foundation, the Pulitzer Center and the Dart Center For Journalism & Trauma at Columbia University.

Project description:

Investigative report about the reality in which more than one million Brazilians who do not have access to electricity live. Investigation based on reports from interviewees who are victims of the lack of public service in a country with one of the largest energy matrixes in the world, and based on cross-referencing the data collected, we went to isolated communities in cities in the interior of Brazil to translate the numbers into stories of people who live as if they had stopped in time. 

Impact reached:

The reportage traveled for 22 days through two of the most isolated and unassisted by public policies regions in the country. The social impact was very strong because it showed the rest of Brazil a reality that the country was unaware of. Entire populations living as if it were the Middle Ages, by candlelight, without access to a basic and essential right. The publication reached an audience of millions of viewers on television and social networks. The theme caused a commotion and was discussed in groups and social networks as well. In the communities we visited, residents reported that they had been approached by others looking to help them.

1 – To give visibility to populations in Brazilian communities who live in the dark, without access to information and technology. 
2 – Bring to the attention of the authorities of the public powers about cases of corruption involving the supply of electricity to more than a million Brazilians, also provoking the opening of investigative processes by institutions such as the Public Ministry.
3 – Raise awareness of the importance of energy distribution and the correct use and full development of the country, showing the socioeconomic disparity that exists between communities that do not have the service and those that do.

Techniques/technologies used:

Tools and technologies: such as notebook, gopro hero 7 type cameras, osmo pocket, CAMERA PXW model cameras, external HD memory, powerbank, 128 gb and 64 gb SD cards for file and battery storage, light panels, lapel microphones. 
Technologies: Internet via cable, LIVE U, WIFI, GoolgeDrive, Wetransfer, excel spreadsheets, google maps, google street for locations, waze and others.
 For some remote interviews, I used applications like zoom, microsoft teams, skype.

What was the hardest part of this project?

The most difficult thing was to do the research in the regions where electricity was lacking, because they are very distant, poor and isolated regions. We had to travel for many days, by river, in precarious and risky vessels, to reach the communities in the middle of the Brazilian Amazon to show how people live in the communities where electricity never arrived. We needed to translate the data into numbers and to do this we had to go there. But for this we had to face many challenges, such as threats, persecutions by local politicians, biological threats as well, storms, violence, and the lack of structure in the region because it is a forest, everything is very scarce.

What can others learn from this project?

A deep investigative work that was based on hard data, translated it to transform a timeless agenda into a factual one, which can yield several topics for discussion. Which can bring several perspectives of leads. Which is a complex subject, that shows us from the exploitation of human rights, corruption, racism, social and economic inequality, the exploitation of natural resources… All this, in a single project that condensed a complex range of data from a single theme. 

Project links: