Thursday, March 24, 2005

Propaganda Watch: The EU considers "more persuasive measures to secure the cooperation of the Member States"

Currently up for discussion in the European Parliament is this rather frightening piece of legislation. Called the “Implementation of the European Union’s information and
communication strategy
”, it is being drafted by Luis Herrero, a Spanish EPP type and one time political TV presenter it really gets to the heart of the proposed EU propaganda programme.

Depressed that no editor worth its salt will fill his pages with EU puff pieces, after all he has a business to run and nobody wants to read the drivel. Look no further, make it economically worthwhile
One way of doing so would be to award cash prizes to those media which have most successfully put across the ideas and the values of Europe or to those which have devoted most space to broadcasting Union related news.
Of course this is excellent because one only has to pay the money to one outlet, hopefully many have tried and thus filled their pages up for no reward.

Not getting the message through to tomorrows taxpayers. Simple make it part of the national curriculum;
“The information and communication policy will not be effective until knowledge of the EU and its institutions is included as a subject in the Member States’ school curricula”.

Despite the fact that the Press service of the Commission employs over 200 people and the Parliament has nigh on 50 (that’s not including the political groups, the individual members, or for that matter the Council, the Committee of the Regions, ECOSOC or any number of other EU institutions etc. it is increasingly apparent that the product that they sell is turgid rubbish. How to deal with this? Look no further, co-opt leading journalists (like they did over the Constitution vote in the Parliament in January)
“Stresses the need for Parliament and the Commission to make greater use of the scope for pooling their staff to achieve a higher degree of professional excellence, with the possible assistance of expert journalists, since this would benefit all parties concerned and reduced costs;”

Still not reaching that hard to get audience, realize that soaps reach those parts of the populace that news will never attract? No problem, we have the strategy the Parliament;
“should reach agreements with independent television producers able to devise drama series, competitions, films, news reports and in general all kinds of high-quality and accessible programmes which appeal to popular taste and serve to promote the idea and values of Europe;”

Still not satisfied with the propaganda spend – feel that it needs augmentation? No problem, surely there are other budgets that can be tapped for this, the most vital of projects;
“consideration should be given to using some of the resources from certain Community programmes to promote the Europe ‘brand’ and believes that in the next few years a measure should be introduced on an experimental basis under which some of the funds earmarked for programmes such as 'Media', 'Youth', 'Culture' or Education' could be used to promote the ‘image' and 'spirit' of the Union”.

There again there must be a way of bullying other people into providing resources?
“Stresses the need to consider more persuasive measures to secure the cooperation of the Member States”;

More persuasive, what can they mean? One suggestion is to name an shame recalcitrant nations – but surely that could be worn as a point of pride? So what other sanctions could be available – I don’t know, they don’t say.

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