The purpose of the media during the Estado Novo (1926-74) was to communicate official government policy. Therefore, the government strictly censored newspapers, magazines, and books. Radio and television broadcasting was in the hands of two state-owned companies: Radiodifusão Portuguesa (RDP) and Radiotelevisão Portuguesa (RTP). The first TV broadcasts aired in March 1957, and the official state visit of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain to Portugal was featured. The only independent broadcasting company during the Estado Novo was the Catholic Church's Radio Renascença. Writers and journalists who violated the regime's guidelines were severely sanctioned. Under Prime Minister Marcello Caetano, censorship was relaxed somewhat, and writers were allowed to publish critical and controversial works without fear of punishment. Caetano attempted to "speak to the people" through television. Daily program content consisted of little more than government-controlled (and censored) news programs and dull documentaries.
   After the Revolution of 25 April 1974, censorship was abolished. As the revolution veered leftward, some sectors of the media were seized by opponents of the views they expressed. The most famous case was the seizure of Radio Renascença by those who sought to bring it into line with the drift leftward. State ownership of the media was increased after 25 April 1974, when banks were nationalized because most banks owned at least one newspaper. As the Revolution moderated and as banking was privatized during the 1980s and 1990s, newspapers were also privatized.
   The history of two major Lisbon dailies illustrates recent cycles of Portuguese politics and pressures. O Século, a major Lisbon daily paper was founded in 1881 and was influenced by Republican, even Masonic ideas. When the first Republic began in 1910, the editorials of O Século defended the new system, but the economic and social turmoil disillusioned the paper's directors. In 1924, O Século, under publisher João Pereira da Rosa, called for political reform and opposed the Democratic Party, which monopolized elections and power in the Republic. This paper was one of the two most important daily papers, and it backed the military coup of 28 May 1926 and the emergent military dictatorship. Over the history of the Estado Novo, this paper remained somewhat to the left of the other major daily paper in Lisbon, Diário de Notícias, but in 1972 the paper suffered a severe financial crisis and was bought by a Lisbon banker. During the more chaotic times after the Revolution of 25 April 1974, O Século experienced its own time of turmoil, in which there was a split between workers and editors, firings, resignations, and financial trouble. After a series of financial problems and controversy over procommunist staff, the paper was suspended and then ceased publication in February 1977. In the 1990s, there was a brief but unsuccessful attempt to revive O Século.
   Today, the daily paper with the largest circulation is Diário de Notícias of Lisbon, which was established in 1883. It became the major daily paper of record, but after the Revolution of 25 April 1974, like O Século, the paper suffered difficulties, both political and financial. One of its editors in the "hot" summer of 1975 was José Saramago, future Nobel Prize winner in literature, and there was an internal battle in the editorial rooms between factions. The paper was, like O Século, nationalized in 1976, but in 1991, Diário de Notícias was reprivatized and today it continues to be the daily paper of record, leading daily circulation.
   Currently, about 20 daily newspapers are published in Portugal, in Lisbon, the capital, as well as in the principal cities of Oporto, Coimbra, and Évora. The major Lisbon newspapers are Diário de Notícias (daily and newspaper of record), Publico (daily), Correia da Manha (daily), Jornal de Noticias (daily), Expresso (weekly), The Portugal News (English language weekly), The Resident (English language weekly), and Get Real Weekly (English language).
   These papers range from the excellent, such as Público and the Diário de Notícias, to the sensationalistic, such as Correio da Manhã. Portugal's premier weekly newspaper is Expresso, founded by Francisco Balsemão during the last years of Marcello Caetano's governance, whose modern format, spirit, and muted criticism of the regime helped prepare public opinion for regime change in 1974. Another weekly is O Independente, founded in 1988, which specializes in political satire. In addition to these newspapers, Portugal has a large number of newspapers and magazines published for a specific readership: sports fans, gardeners, farmers, boating enthusiasts, etc. In addition to the two state-owned TV channels, Portugal has two independent channels, one of which is operated by the Catholic Church. TV programming is now diverse and sophisticated, with a great variety of programs of both domestic and foreign content. The most popular TV programs have been soap operas and serialized novels (telenovelas) imported from Brazil. In the 1990s, Portugal attempted to produce its own telenovelas and soap operas, but these have not been as popular as the more exotic Brazilian imports.
   See also Cinema; Oliveira, Manoel de.

Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. . 2014.

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