Self Determined Participatory Action of Marginalized Groups: The streets of São Paulo

motoboys são paulo – community media broadcast

While searching for existing mobile phones projects in São Paulo, a publication at WI revealed two examples of mobile phone usage and the corresponding mapping of the produced (locative) media. The first one, sticker map is cool but for now, the second example, megafone.net,  is more related to the idea of this thesis.

Megafone.net "has been inviting groups of people on the fringe of society to express
their experiences and opinions through face-to-face editorial meetings
and mobile phones. The cell phones, which allow participants to create
audio recordings and images that are immediately published to the Web,
act as digital megaphones, amplifying the voices of individuals and
groups who are often overlooked or misrepresented in mainstream media". (source: megafone.net

Since 2006, a group of motoboys (professional courier moto-cyclists) in São Paulo started to document their daily working environment with mobile phones. They transmit the produced media directly from their mobile phones via the internet to their media channel.

últimas gerações de telefonia
celular permitem a publicação imediata na Internet de conteúdos
multimídia a partir de telefones celulares com câmara integrada.
Este contexto possibilita a criação itinerante e remota de canais
audiovisuais na Internet, prescindindo dos sofisticados e custosos
de gravação e emissão, como os tradicionalmente usados
em televisão.
receptores destas emissões têm a possibilidade de pesquisar nos
conteúdos e de publicar seus comentários nos fóruns, convertendo-se
em usuários ativos do dispositivo de comunicação.

na confluência das redes Internet e celulares, o projeto
canal*MOTOBOY propõe
um espaço público digital, onde emissores e usuários experimentam
um uso social das redes telemáticas. Uma experiência colaborativa
que fomenta a auto-representação de coletivos e comunidades que
sofrem com os estereótipos projetados pelos meios de comunicação
preponderantes." (source:

The project is ongoing and its objectives are the creation of a digital public space where everyone can access and use the transmitted information, thus the receiver (we, the ones that visit this digital public space) turns into a user because he or she can make use of the available information (download the images, leave comments in the forum, analyse the available tags and the corresponding information).

At the same time, the producers of those information (the motoboys in this case) possess powerful means (a complete media channel) in order to change the often wrong or prejudiced image that is projected on them, from mainstream media or from society (as a few, most known, examples). It would be interesting to know what the effect after 4 years of
constant reporting is, in terms of perception in society, in terms of city politics and legislation, in terms of working environment.

More background information can be found at São Paulo motoboy ethnographers (2):  re-thinking politics with a detailed layout of the project (in portuguese) from of one project participant.

more about community-media broadcasts in colombia in the next post

Category: case studies, general, mobile activism, portuguese


Comments are closed.

open access bibliography and sources

all literature references at rtc@zotero.org

open access thesis repository

all thesis Tex documents at rtc@github.com

opens maps

open map editing at

audio and video archives

all recordings at rtc@archive.org


mail 2
r3cl41m [at] riseup (.) net [public key]

jabber chat
r3cl41m [at] jabber {.) ccc (.} de