EC plans to set up own TV station

By Hamish Mackay

The European Commission wants to set up its own television station and news agency because it is unhappy with current media coverage of European issues.

It is also proposing to create a "code of conduct" for governments and journalists on how its affairs should be reported.

The initiatives were revealed by EC vice-president Margot Wallstrom as she unveiled the Commission’s White Paper — "A European Communication Policy".

Wallstrom said all European institutions had made considerable efforts to improve communications with the media.

"However, in spite of these efforts, and the professional competence of Brussels correspondents, media coverage of European issues remains limited and fragmented," she claimed.

She accused regional and local newspapers of giving "little space" to Euro issues, and claimed reports were being "squeezed" out of television and radio networks because of changes in programming patterns.

At present, Europe by Satellite offers a fairly limited service including online retransmissions of press conferences, supplying video, sound and images from the three main EU institutions, and photographs of senior EC figures.

Wallstrom said she was eager to build on that to create a fully fledged broadcaster and news agency.

"We want to upgrade Europe by Satellite with a focus on producing high-quality audiovisual content which is user-friendly and relevant to citizens," she said.

Among the recommendations of the White Paper are to create a European communication policy which will:

■ Supply the media with high-quality news and current affairs material.

■ Work more closely with broadcasters and media operators.

■ And establish new links with regional and local communication systems.

The EC is seeking views on the White Paper in a consultation period which runs until August.

You can respond by logging on to a specially created multilingual website.

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