Thursday, December 18, 2008

They Had to Hang a Pork Chop Around His Neck to get the Dog to Play with Him

The EU has stopped funding to “5-6” western-balkans news operations that they were paying to cover their circus in Brussels. Bra-vo, and all that, but the question really is: why would they need to pay anyone to cover them to begin with?

Until the end of 2006, the European Commission supported all TV correspondents coming from EU candidate states. This was first a scheme first applied to the correspondents of 12 countries that are now part of the EU.
Then it was our turn in the “Western Balkans”. This technical aid consisted of cameras, editing studios and a chance to send our stories via satellite. The first 12 beneficiaries of the scheme were happy to receive this aid until the day they entered the EU. Croatia, Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia, Kosovo and Serbia were to follow. Back in 2003, the EU gave these countries a clear perspective of eventual membership, right?But almost two years ago, the European Commission reorganized the budget in order to redirect the money earmarked for “media support”. They cash was top be redirected towards civil society, they said. So, money that once went on media support is now going to go directly to the countries for the purposes of staging workshops, seminars and similar activities, including sporadic help for several TV broadcasts. This initiative is fine, but what about the correspondents, the people that are at the centre of happenings? Who better than us can directly and instantaneously inform people about political events concerning our countries?
The simple answer is to start media support of civil societies, whatever the hell that chilling, ademocratic sounding thing is – as opposed to proving so be so uninteresting or so unable to market virally that you have to put cash out on the street.

I find odd though, that the title of the blog reporting on this is called “shooting the messenger”, as though it’s perfectly normal for a government entity to pay journalists, and a sign of harshness when they stop paying them.

Elsewhere, demanding students ask: What am I? Chopped liver? Frankly, yes. Yes you are.

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