October 15, 2010
Next week will see yet another physical meeting in Brussels dedicated to exploring the European public space, an irony which appears permanently lost to the organisers of the neverending stream of conferences, seminars and workshops which can be only attended by Brussels Bubble Insiders, and have neither webstreaming nor any online community (EuropCom, anyone?).
Mediacafé – Europe: no medium, no message? (link via Kosmopolit), however, looks interesting, particularly as it provides an insight into the Bubble’s tendency to blame everyone else for the EU’s communications problems (my emphases, getting increasingly concerned ):
“To create a European public space however, it appears to be vital that citizens are informed about the political life of the European institutions. The European institutions … must speak with one voice and communicate more directly instead of merely informatively. … But Member States and media share part of the blame as well. The production of qualitative EU coverage should be incorporated in the charters of public broadcasters and it should be supervised as well.
Yep, you read that right. The media are partly to blame for not reporting on the EU, so we must force them.
And we will supervise them to ensure they do their job.
Now I realise I may start to sound like some of the hysterics who thought Blogactiv was some evil plot to take over the blogoshphere, but the fact that this is now a subject of conversation in Brussels chills my blood.
Perhaps it’s because I spent a recent afternoon with Nosemonkey (before his Booze-Fueled Brussels Rampage) and a few ‘real’ journalists, mulling over his acceptance speech for the European Parliament Prize for Internet Journalism.
The idea that it is the media’s fault for not making the EU interesting came up, and led to much angry downing of beer.
The media is the best judge of what interests their audience. A government forcing them to cover something is that government’s admission of failure. This belongs in the pages of East European history, and will have the same result on public trust if tried again.
If you want the media to cover your activities, it’s not that hard. Be relevant. Be timely. Be clear.
State-coerced, force-fed media should not be what Europe is about.
PS The event is also going to look at the EU and social media. Odd that the website doesn’t allow comments …
18/10/2010: The organisers contacted me by email and pointed me to another website with the same content, where interactivity is possible (albeit, so far, unused).
Unfortunately I can’t make it, but I hope to hear from others how it went.Mathew Lowry