By contextualizing the tensions and contradictions of media education in Brazil in the past 30 years, this article situates the socio-political and cultural specificities of media education by analysing the guidelines established by public policies, programmes and projects developed in recent years. It then discusses the role of institutions and social actors that have constructed proposals for media education in Brazil and their articulations with teacher education, academic production and research groups linked to graduate courses in the fields of education and communication. Finally, considering the dilemmas, limits and possibilities of media education as a condition for citizenship and belonging, it highlights the importance and wealth of the diversity of the approaches and of the plurality of experiences and reflections that bring together education, communication, culture and art as paths for facing current and future challenges.