Leaked EU Report; EU to spend Millions, monitoring and targeting critical Media, Journalists and Social Media
Christof Lehmann (nsnbc) : According to a statement, published by the conservative Europe-wide party MELD, the European Commission plans to invest about two million euro to limit EU-critical media reports as well as EU critical opinion on social media like Facebook and Twitter up to the elections to the European Parliament in 2014.
According to MELD, the EU plans measures, including the fining of media, forcing media to publish retractions or corrections, and denying EU critical journalists and media access. Other measures the un-elected EU Commissioners plan include the monitoring of EU critical voices in social media. In newspaper advertisements in Danish newspapers, the MELD states, that it finds the planned measures unacceptable, and considers them to be an assault against freedom of speech and anti-democratic.
The statements made by the MELD are corroborated by an article in The Daily Telegraph. According to the article, The Daily Telegraph has seen confidential spending proposals and internal documents, planning an unprecedented propaganda blitz ahead of and during the election to the EU parliament in 2014.
The Telegraph reports, that a key to the strategy will be “public opinion monitoring tools” and to “identify at an early stage whether debates of political nature among followers in social media and blogs have the potential to attract media and citizens’ interest“.
According to the confidential spending proposals, the British newspaper reports, the budget for “qualitative media analysis” is to be increased by £1.7 million. While most of the money is to be found in existing budgets, an additional 797,000 British Pound are reportedly to be raised next year, and that despite calls for EU spending to reflect national austerity. According to the confidential proposal, The Telegraph reports, the EU is supposed to pay particular attention to the countries that have experienced a surge in Euro-skepticism.
“Parliament’s institutional communicators must have the ability to monitor public conversation and sentiment on the ground and in real-time, to understand ‘trending topics’ and have the capacity to react quickly, in a targeted and relevant manner, to join in and influence the conversation, for example, by providing facts and figures to deconstructing myths.”
Beside the MELD, also Paul Nuttall, the deputy leader of the UKIP, has criticized the proposals. According to Nuttall, the campaign would violate the neutrality of the EU’s civil service by turning officials into a “troll patrol”, stalking the internet to make unwanted and provocative political contributions in social media debates.
According to The Telegraph, Nuttall said, “Spending over a million pounds for EU public servants to become Twitter trolls in office hours is wasteful and truly ridiculous”. Other than being ridiculous, the propaganda campaign is a continuation of an anti-democratic and potentially dangerous trend that has been observed in European NATO member states since 2011.
At the onset of the so-called Arab Spring in Libya and Syria, several editors of independent media, including the scribe, registered that social media became inundated with disinformation about NATO´s role in the wars on Libya and Syria while some independent media, including the Stop NATO website, edited by Rick Rozoff, nsnbc no spin news, the blog predecessor of nsnbc international, were suspended during critical days of NATO’s campaign against the Libyan government.
EU plans to deny critical journalists access to press briefings and election events constitute a de facto attempt to socially engineer political opinion within the European Union. Campaigns to fine media are likely to particularly target media who are critical of EU policies and constitute an assault on the freedom of the press. Moreover, the fining of media is especially hard on independent media who don´t receive corporate or government funding.