An EU-funded online news service to “report accurately” on EU affairs

The European Union is offering millions of euros of funding for a new online media outlet to “report accurately” on affairs of the Union, while gathering content from mainstream third-party sources and focus on issues that include “political priorities” of EU institutions, according to a report by publicserviceeurope.com.

The commission earlier claimed that the newspaper and online reporting of EU is “often scarce, irregular, lacks any broader European perspective, and citizens do not have any specialised platform where they can find and share quality content.” 

Through this initiative, the commission aims to address this problem by financially supporting the establishment of an online news service that will “strengthen citizens understanding and awareness on EU affairs and stimulate exchanges of opinions and debate on key current issues”. The media outlet will offer original content, but at least half of its material will be republished articles from mainstream sources, translated into a minimum of 10 EU languages.

The online news service bureau will be staffed with professional journalists that will offer a selection of content aggregated from news sources and websites in and around Europe, while promoting articles that “report accurately and “focus in particular on issues at the top of the EU and commission agenda (political priorities).” According to a tender document published in June, it stresses that the organisation that wins the contract will enjoy full editorial independence.

This new website will create its own content – blogs, editorials, live coverage of events such as EU summit and European parliament elections to offer “balanced and neutral point of view.”

In addition, “free or paid contributors” such as politicians, lobbyists, representatives of non-governmental organisations, scientists and other experts will be encouraged to contribute blog posts, while readers will be able to participate through a comments system and on social media. Content appearing on the website must have a genuine EU dimension with explicit links to the policies and activities of the EU, while purely avoiding national or local angles, as specified in the tender document. 

The tender document sets a deadline for bids until August 14 and stipulates “independence will be guaranteed” under the EU’s own editorial charter.

It is seen as a follow-up to Presseurop.eu – a Paris-based website funded by the commission, which serves a similar purpose, publishing material in 10 EU languages. The EU also provides financing for the multilingual media organisation Euronews, headquartered in France.

By: Savita V Jayaram

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