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Paulo Cabral

The principles of fairness and impartiality which underline our coverage of UK elections, should also inform our coverage of elections in other countries.

We owe a special responsibility to audiences who are about to vote.

Brazil's electorate - by Paulo Cabral, producer, Brazilian section

In 2002, when Brazil was gearing up for one of the most media dominated elections of its history, I travelled to the remote countryside to find out what modern day politics meant to communities that are usually unreported.

In Estrutural, a village close to the Brazilian capital Brasilia, people live off what they can find in a huge and smelly landfill that receives almost two thousand tons of rubbish every day.

Salgueiro, a community in arid north-eastern Brazil founded 300 years ago by escaped slaves, survives thanks to the will of its inhabitants who in 2002 won a legal battle to remain on ancestral lands.

Unheard voices

Despite the poverty and isolation of these areas – and many others that I visited during the making of a 30-part series – most people have televisions and radios, and can keep abreast of what is happening in the world and during their own presidential elections.

These people, however, are rarely listened to or seen by the world.

They have a lot to say, and listening to them was no less important than listening to candidates Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Jose Serra, Anthony Garotinho and Ciro Gomes, who wanted their votes and promised to solve their problems.

Reflecting the audiences' needs

And all things considered, problems in these places are not the huge public debts or financial surpluses widely discussed in the international media, but a roof for someone's house, false teeth for elderly people and a water supply for a village.

These needs rarely reach the higher levels of Brazilian administration, so political leaders may try to engage in vote-trading methods to secure votes.

Officials are used to talking to the media and people want to listen to what they have to say. But common people – the audience – also have the right to voice their opinions.

It's a question of respecting the audience and reflecting its scope.

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