Fainting in Coyles An occasional letter from the
Heart of Euroville
Sunday, November 21, 2004
Spotted somebody odd in your comment boxes?
Maybe it is one of these?
3.4. Create an “Online dialogue task force” It would consist of a sufficiently high number of Commission administrators from all DGs in order to cover all community languages and the main EU policy areas. Its tasks would be to actively participate in online discussion fora and chat-rooms which are run by national/regional authorities, political parties, interest groups/associations or as citizens‘ grassroots initiatives. In these fora discussions about European matters sometimes reveal a sobering mixture of factual misinformedness, malcomprehension about the EU’s role and competences and shallow prejudice. Commission officials could participate as experts at the request of the organizers of these fora or on their own initiative as informal participants in these discussions – possibly even clearly identifiable as Commission administrators, which might provoke negative reactions but might also make debates more interesting for other participants. The positive effects of such action would be:
· The quality of information and public discussion could be improved and mis-representations of community policies corrected.
· This way, the citizen would not have to do the first step and visit the Europa server but the Commission would reach the citizen online where he/she already is, namely in those fora, already interested in Europe and engaged in discussion.
· Those citizens could be encouraged to participate in online-debates in other countries and make their voice heard there, thus breaking traditional national barriers and fostering a truly European public.
· Since online citizens are politically speaking generally the most engaged, it is to be expected that they will also function as multipliers in offline debates and will thus ensure that the EU’s online messages will reach out into civil society at large and partly overcome the digital divide.
3.5. Create an electronic equivalent of “Team Europe” to be active in the numerous public online forums, discussion groups and panels which exist in all countries at all levels. The Online dialogue task force would further ensure an adequate response to participation in online debates organized by the Commission either by direct feedback to participants or by attempts to attract them to register for regular e-mail information sent to them. The task force could even cooperate with a network of European “online campaign supporters“ who are willing and able to communicate Community policies and activities online and also offline in their local environment. This group would act as an online equivalent of Team Europe only with a better structured, more regular and more intensive contact with the Commission and its information resources.
What we are talking about here is a publicly funded group of people hanging around like drunken bookies in chat rooms and web forums, in the comments boxes of leading Euro Bloggers all being paid to push the Commission line. I love the "possibly even clearly identifiable" aspect. Interesting though, maybe the Commission hasn't really noticed the effect of the blogosphere yet, maybe thinking it an entirely American phenomenon.
Team Europe by the way is a group of 630 experts employed by the Commission to spread the word - a sort of PR Praetorian Guard. Team Europe types and no doubt e-Team Europe look all the world like independents but are used at conferences when an independent but pro European voice. Ingenious.
The Co-rapporteur of this Commission document (see post below) himself practiced what he preached. For year Mr John Wyles was working as the Commission's propagandist in chief for the Euro. At the same time he wrote a regular column for a magazine called "Euro-impact". He described himself at this magazine as, "Written by Michael Rolfe, euro-impact's monthly 'Thinking about the euro' columnist on the political context of Economic and Monetary Union and introduction of the euro. This is an abridged version of the full column". Maybe his readers should have known?
For that matter, with this as a precedence, who, today is a Commission official writing EU propaganda under an assumed name?
posted by Eliab |