Tuesday, May 26, 2009

European News

There is a new portal of news: Presseurop. It is a portal of European news and its objective is to inform about what is happening on the 27 member countries of the European Union. On their first page, there are 14 news. Of these 14 news, 4 come from German press and/or are about German affairs.

We know Germany has 82 million inhabitants and, thus, it is the most representative country of the European Union. We know that, at least as first language, German is the most important language of the Union. But if one is really concerned about what is happening in 27 different countries, it doesn't make any sense to dedicate 4 news out of 14 to a single country. Even if we accept that, in a newspaper, the focus each country is given should depend on its representativeness - and this is a very debatable criterion! - still 4 out of 14 in an universe of 27 countries is clearly overrepresentation. It is too much.

Now, of the 4 news that have more emphasis - the first 4 titles, with bigger letters - one is from Le Monde and the other is from The Guardian. Well, these newspapers are alredy read not only at their countries of origin but also internationally. People that care for foreign media most probably already read these titles (in the case of Portugal, Portuguese newspapers are basically made of copy-translate-and-pasted articles from those newspapers). Then, why give them prominence also in Presseurop? If Presseurop is about the 27 European Union countries and not only about Germany, France and United Kingdom, how come there is no news about Slovenia, no emphasis put in Hungary, nothing is said about Denmark, no line written about Bulgaria? How come there is something about Sarkozy, as if that politician didn't get already too much attention, something about German SPD and nothing is said, for instance, about the recently elected new President of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaitė? We strongly believe the shoes of the husband of Carla Bruni are not more important nor more interesting than, say, the black belt in karate of Dalia Grybauskaitė.

We have checked Politics, Society, Economy, Science & The Environment, Culture & Ideas, Europe & The World sections and what did we find in these sections? We didn't find any news about Portugal, any news about Sweden, any news about Latvia...

The aim of Presseurop is to offer a common newspaper to the citizens of the 27 member countries. We don't believe all these people is really interested in reading almost exclusively news from and about Germany, France and England and find that a news about, say, Slovak Republic is some kind of exotic article. European Union is not a group of four or five countries that are or believe they still are very important with a bunch of merry little inconsequent sovereign nations around. This mentality is actually the opposite of what the European spirit is and should be.

Europe is either 27 and more, 27 and counting or it isn't. For now, Presseurop isn't. But let's give it time and let's hope it changes. One shouldn't forget that the European Union took also time to create, to develop and to enlarge. And, happily, it has been in the right track thus far!


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