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Home » Flagship proposals

My proposal: an interactive platform to boost pluralistic debate in EU

Submitted by on May 27, 2011 – 09:5210 Comments

The project aims at cre­at­ing the first inter­ac­tive meet­ing place of 4 groups of key stake­hold­ers in Euro­pean Affairs: EU jour­nal­ists (cor­re­spon­dents), EU Insti­tu­tions representatives, European NGO’s and National/local journalists.

This project results from the acknowl­edg­ment that these actors hardly ever man­age to meet at the same place, which is unfor­tu­nate because when they do, they gen­er­ate a rich and rare plu­ral­is­tic debate on EU policies.

EU cor­re­spon­dents would have a cen­tral role on the plat­form. Indeed, they would be the ones giv­ing the impulse to dis­cus­sions through news com­men­taries that they would post in the related the­matic sec­tions. Once they would have posted their texts in Eng­lish, a direct alert would be send to par­ties belong­ing to the three remain­ing groups.

The mem­bers of the dif­fer­ent groups would have reg­is­tered ear­lier accord­ing to their field of inter­est. Alerts would be gath­ered and sent at a spe­cific time in the after­noon only to spokes­peo­ple so as to make it eas­ier for them to con­cen­trate their answers at a par­tic­u­lar moment of the day.

One person-staff would be in charge of mon­i­tor­ing. Fur­ther­more, in a space specif­i­cally ded­i­cated to that, he would post direct links to the related doc­u­ments. This way, a lay per­son com­ing to the web site would not only have back­ground infor­ma­tion on the sub­ject debated, but also con­trasted opinions.

Col­lect­ing good infor­ma­tion is an issue for EU jour­nal­ists. Jour­nal­ists are fac­ing extreme work load given the com­plex­ity of EU report­ing and the mass of infor­ma­tion through which they have to wade on a daily basis. The con­fronta­tion of point of views voiced on the plat­form would help them iden­tify more rapidly new sources they might find rel­e­vant for their report­ing. More­over, jour­nal­ists and NGOs would also have the oppor­tu­nity to receive a response from EU Offi­cials who are well known for their lit­tle avail­abil­ity for indi­vid­ual inquiries. It is there­fore fair to assume that they will favour con­texts where the infor­ma­tion they pro­vide will be spread widely.

Par­tic­u­lar atten­tion is also given to local jour­nal­ists for whom it is dif­fi­cult to get access to pri­mary sources. It is often very dif­fi­cult for local jour­nal­ists to check out their information.

As for Euro­pean Asso­ci­a­tions, their core con­cern is to be acknowl­edged as such. They are eager to give their cause more vis­i­bil­ity (MARCHETTI, 2004, 140). NGO’s and asso­ci­a­tions are impor­tant sources of infor­ma­tion because they are staffed with experts who usu­ally have a very com­pre­hen­sive under­stand­ing of the impact and con­crete con­se­quences of the deci­sions taken. They would thus be able to assist jour­nal­ists in shap­ing their sto­ries in a tan­gi­ble way.

Related posts:

  1. Cre­ate an inde­pen­dent Inter­net plat­form for jour­nal­ists and NGOs
  2. Does the internet’s inter­ac­tiv­ity fos­ter the Euro­pean debate?
  3. Cit­i­zens for Europe: ‘Giv­ing a voice to the Euro­pean civil society’
  4. Euro­pean asso­ci­a­tions chang­ing jour­nal­ists’ job
  5. CAP: Com­mu­ni­cat­ing Agri­cul­tural Policy


  • Ron says:

    That won’t work as so many of these plat­forms have failed. This is not about a plat­form but about EU insti­tu­tions real­is­ing that their atti­tude has to change. A plat­form won’t do this, I’m afraid.

  • Esther Durin says:

    Hi Ron,

    Do you have some exam­ples in mind?

  • Esther Durin says:

    Sure that for the moment, the EC Com­mu­ni­ca­tion plan is mov­ing towards ever stricter con­trol of Euro­pean com­mu­ni­ca­tors, such as jour­nal­ists and cit­i­zens: spokes­peo­ple fol­low an autocue, cri­sis com­mu­ni­ca­tion is done by text mes­sages, Com­mis­sion­ers’ press rela­tions are being ‘per­son­alised’, blogs and social net­works are con­tin­u­ously mon­i­tored in order to make ‘instant denials’…

    But maybe the pres­sure organ­ised by both civil soci­ety organ­i­sa­tions and jour­nal­ists, cross­ing infor­ma­tion by the means of such a plat­form and then widely spread­ing it to cit­i­zens, could push the EC to change its position?

    And what do you think about a plat­form of exchanges between only jour­nal­ists and NGOs, as pre­sented in the pro­posal of the week?

  • Ron says: & &

    I’ve come across more exam­ples but I don’t recall them imme­di­ately, so these are just some exam­ples. What they have in com­mon at they all try (tried) to cre­ate arti­fi­cial net­works that only func­tion if they are well-used but that don’t grow because nobody uses them or even wants to use them (some even never get started as).

    I think that the exist­ing social com­mu­ni­ca­tion tools are totally okay to be used for a lot of pur­poses and you should not try to cre­ate arti­fi­cial new plat­forms but make use of what is already there — Face­book, Twit­ter, blogs etc.

    For exam­ple: Given that most spokes­peo­ple are already on Twit­ter now, you just need to get them to be more inter­ac­tive there or direct them to your blog where you have posed a ques­tion that they just need to answer. A good exam­ple is Martón from the Hun­gar­ian Coun­cil Pres­i­dency answer­ing a ques­tion posed in a blog post of mine ear­lier this year after I hinted this to him on Twit­ter:

    Why waste time, money and effort on a new plat­form when all you need is to get spokes­peo­ple, MEPs and oth­ers to react on what you write wher­ever you do that?

  • Esther Durin says:

    Hello Ron,

    Thanks a lot for you reply, very clear !

    Could you give me an advice on the pro­posal of last week, cre­ate an inter­net plat­form between only NGOs and jour­nal­ists because many peo­ple told us it would be very useful.

    Actu­ally NGOs’representatives feel they only inter­est jour­nal­ists when they show them­selves as activists, mak­ing event on cur­rent affairs. Now, they develop analy­sis of good qual­ity on future impact of Euro­pean poli­cies and meet dif­fi­cul­ties to inform on those analy­sis before the deci­sions are taken in the Euro­pean level and cause quite a stir. On another hand, jour­nal­ists, espe­cially local jour­nal­ists, don’t know well Euro­pean NGOs and their work. The goal of such a plat­form would be to allow them to find each other, by place and sec­tor of work.
    What do you think?

  • Talia Delgado Culebras says:

    Hello ,
    My name is Talía Del­gado I am an Span­ish jour­nal­ist and I also work for ngos. I just find out about this page an the ini­tia­tive which I find very inter­est­ing and needed. Sorry to jump like this into your con­ver­sa­tion but I would like to sug­gest few things if you do not mind. It is not clear to me what do you mean by Euro­pean NGOs, those who are umbrella orga­ni­za­tions? Those who have offices in Brussels?.I think that it should be an inter­me­di­ate level as well.
    As you were say­ing there are three com­mu­ni­ca­tion lev­els. Eu national cor­re­spon­dents, Euro­pean ngos, but also local jour­nal­ists. Some­times for local jour­nal­ists an Euro­pean orga­ni­za­tion maybe can pro­vide a gen­eral con­text but maybe they need a local approach to the infor­ma­tion besides the gen­eral con­text. So it could be inter­est­ing to take into con­sid­er­a­tion this level as well and maybe it could be included local ngo´s who could be eas­ily reached by local jour­nal­ist. Maybe Euro­pean orga­ni­za­tions have already local net­works as well or local part­ners. So it could be use­ful to redi­rect the con­sul­ta­tion of the local jour­nal­ist to these orga­ni­za­tions or to allow these orga­ni­za­tions to be listed as well in the platform.

    For exam­ple: You have a Euro­pean ngo who is work­ing on envi­ron­men­tal issues, the eu cor­re­spon­dent can ask them directly and gather the infor­ma­tion from them. The local jour­nal­ist could be redi­rected to the local branch of the Euro­pean NGO if exist­ing or to some other orga­ni­za­tion that they coop­er­ate with locally who could pro­vide the needed info.

    I also wanted to share with you a long term project who has been active in Spain ( and only avail­able in Span­ish) which con­nects ngos and jour­nal­ist the same way you want to do it but at national level. It is called EKOS and is a very suc­cess­ful and active project. has as objec­tive to bring the sources of infor­ma­tion mainly local and inter­na­tional ngos to the jour­nal­ist through online con­sults that ngo´s are respond­ing. It’s a plat­form cre­ated by the Chan­dra Foun­da­tion in coop­er­a­tion with the Span­ish Coop­er­a­tion Agency and the regional gov­ern­ments of Cat­alo­nia and Madrid.
    So maybe you could use some of their exper­tise and expe­ri­ences to use for your project too.

    Thanks for your atten­tion

    • Esther Durin says:

      Dear Talia
      Thanks a lot for your com­ment, which is very rich !
      I totally agree with you when you say that jour­nal­ists “need a local approach to the infor­ma­tion besides the gen­eral con­text”. I didn’t find on the Web but I ‘m inter­ested in know­ing bet­ter this ini­tia­tive. Do you have some rel­a­tive pub­li­ca­tions and con­tacts? The third chap­ter of the White paper in sup­port of a social and civic Euro­pean jour­nal­ism ( deals in a more detailed way with the links between jour­nal­ists and NGOs. It was realised with Jour­nal­ists, stu­dents, Euro­pean and local NGOs. Don’t hes­i­tate to make com­ments. A debate will be organ­ised with MEPs in Octo­ber 2011 to dis­cuss the proposals.

  • Esther Durin says:

    Right that the idea sub­mit­ted was an inde­pen­dent plat­form from insti­tu­tions, for only NGOs and jour­nal­ists. Our col­league Laure Engle­bert sub­mit­ted another plat­form, involv­ing Euro­pean insti­tu­tions. That’s another idea.
    Right that peo­ple expressed their view more by mail and tel than on the blog. But you can see that we have sev­eral part­ners on this project and that the pro­pos­als were born from a dialogue.

  • Esther Durin says:

    Our goal is to col­lect many dif­fer­ent views by dif­fer­ent means (inter­views, meet­ings, mails, blog), not to be “the blog of the year”

1 Pingbacks »

  • […] Inter­est­ingly, the one pro­posal not appar­ently sub­mit­ted by the site’s edi­tors was the one that received 80% of the (10) com­ments: “… cre­at­ing the first inter­ac­tive meet­ing place of 4 groups of key stake­hold­ers in Euro­pean Affairs: EU jour­nal­ists (cor­re­spon­dents), EU Insti­tu­tions rep­re­sen­ta­tives, Euro­pean NGO’s and National/local jour­nal­ists. … these actors hardly ever man­age to meet at the same place, which is unfor­tu­nate because when they do, they gen­er­ate a rich and rare plu­ral­is­tic debate on EU policies.” — My pro­posal: an inter­ac­tive plat­form to boost plu­ral­is­tic debate in EU […]

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