Europe of the Media
and Europe in the Media

, by Stéphane Carrara

Europe of the Media and Europe in the Media

Relations between the EU and the national media do not stand comparison with the relationship between national powers and “their” media. Similarly, we cannot but notice that existing European-level media such as Euronews have nothing in common in terms of impact, for instance, with mass TV networks in any member state.

Consequently the EU is at present hindered by “re-nationalized” readings of its current events. National media inevitably “re-nationalize” European information, removing or distorting that “community” dimension which is indispensable if the public are to grasp the full extent of the issues under discussion. Purely European media hardly exist and have had very little success up till now. The big press and TV groups show no interest in Europe and consider the EU to be “not sexy enough” and not “marketable”. There is an obvious need for trans-national media to bring new life into community democracy and give a higher profile to a European reading of the community agenda. Here the German philosopher Jürgen Habermaswould speak of the necessity of creating a European public space. The project designed and implemented by Café Babel is inspired by this ambition and realizes it in a very interesting manner.

Indeed, the European Magazine Café Babel is the result of work by a network of more than 350 young Europeans drawn from practically all member states and even beyond. Together they produce a magazine of information for the citizens – but not only – in six languages (French, English, German, Italian, Spanish and Catalan).

This magazine gambles on supplying its readers with a European outlook on current events, offering multiple points of view and thereby creating a genuinely European – that is to say supra- or trans-national – debate. It also successfully experiments with public debates: the so-called coffee stormings. In Brussels, for example, the local team organizes monthly public debates on current European themes, including such topics as the constitution, Euro-Mediterranean policy, Lisbon strategy etc. These bi-lingual debates (French/English) take place between young Europeans and various personalities from the political world (European representatives), academics, members of institutions (such as the European commission), and members of European associations.

Conclusion: the media: a key to power?

Of course the media alone are not the key to power, or at least they are not the only key on which the EU should rely. For the present media system’s doors have been locked against EU information and still remain definitely closed today. But steady and strenuous pressure to develop a mass information capacity via the media must be maintained and stepped up.

We must call on the media world’s sense of responsibility, especially in the information media; but we must also call on the European institutions themselves to promote and help projects going in this direction. In this respect the work of teams of dedicated journalists is a vitally important means of enhancing the political awareness of European citizens.

It must be emphasized that the media are an essential key that Europe does not yet possess, to the clear detriment of its integration process.

Image:

All type of Journalism, source: Flickr

Source:

This article was originally published in the November 2006 edition of The Federalist Debate, Papers for Federalists in Europe and the World

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