"Captain Euro is tripe" and other grumbling about EU "propaganda."

Posted: 29 Jul 2009   Print   Send a link
"The European Union spends millions every year on publicity material about itself that can only be described as propaganda, a Swedish think-tank has said. In a report being released on Monday, Timbro, a free-market think-tank, argues that the EU should draw a clearer distinction between public service information and propaganda. 'The EU's propaganda apparatus has until now gone uncriticised, despite the fact that it acts in a way that would not be tolerated in any member state.' ... The report's authors stress that they think it's essentially positive that the EU wants to inform the public about its work, but add that 'the money we give to the EU should not be spent on persuading people in an intrusive manner of the Union's virtues.'" The Local (Stockholm), 27 July 2009.
     Timbro "points out that popular broadcaster Euronews benefits from EU assistance to the tune of €10.8 million a year, raising questions over its objectivity." EUobserver.com, 29 July 2009. BBC World Service is funded by the UK Foreign Office, and it is generally considered a standard of objectivity. It does take decades to demonstrate independence and thus establish credibility.
     "I give you just one example of the hundreds of millions of euros of taxpayers' money spent every year on pro-EU propaganda. This fellow on the left is Captain Euro ('born Adam Andros, the only son of a famous European Ambassador'), meant to be a superhero. He was invented by a firm of 'corporate vision strategists' on the orders of the European Commission. ... Captain Euro is tripe. ... And you might have seen Euronews on television. What you didn't see was any declaration that this year alone, the EU bureaucrats will give it €10.8m (£9.2m)." Mary Ellen Synon, Euroseptic blog, Daily Mail, 27 July 2009.
     During my web search yesterday, I came across Eurojar.org: "Eurojar is an abbreviation of Europa Jaratouna (Europe our neighbor). This website is part of a multimedia communication project which has been carried out following a call for proposals launched by the European Commission in the region concerned by the 'European Neighborhood Policy'. This region involves the South and East Mediterranean countries among many others. ... The goal of the project is to 'maximize the visibility of the European Neighborhood Policy' in the 8 concerned Arab countries: Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestinian Territories, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria. ... This project is entirely funded by the European Commission." Eurojar.org. So it competes, to some extent, with Magharebia.com, "a Web site sponsored by the US Department of Defence. It is designed to provide an international audience with a portal to a broad range of information about the Maghreb region." The "Defence" spelling is in keeping with the use of British English throughout the site. Magharebia.com is parallel to SETimes.com, "a Web site sponsored by the US Department of Defence in support of UN Resolution 1244." SETimes.com has content in, and thus competes to some extent with RFE/RL and/or VOA in, Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, Albanian, Macedonian, Greek, Turkish, and English.