Brussels press corps shaken by declining numbers

From a high point of 1,031 journalists in 2005, making it the biggest foreign press corps in the world, the number of reporters has steadily dropped down to between 860 and 935 today. While the ongoing malaise within the media sector and the wider economic crisis are held up as the principle causes, the European institutions themselves were on Thursday attacked for a communications strategy that the president of the International Press Association (API, from its French acronym) accused of sidelining journalists in favour of uncritical “propaganda.” The “flood” of freely available video and audio content, press releases and photographs from the institutions makes having correspondents appear to cash-strapped editors in their home countries as an unnecessary luxury, Lorenzo Consoli, the president of the association warned at a packed special meeting of API dedicated to the question. Reporters repeatedly used the terms “propaganda” and “anti-competitive” to describe the institution’s activities. In response, the meeting passed a resolution calling for video content from the EU institutions to always be labelled that it was produced by them, and demanded access to all events for independent cameramen and photographers, not just those in the employ of the institutions. More controversially, the reporters considered calling on the institutions to make press releases available only to accredited Brussels journalists. Some in the room objected to the restrictions on access to information this would entail and the association ultimately voted to just request a wider use of the ’embargo’ system, in which information is delivered to a journalist with enough time to prepare a story ahead of a document’s full public release

http://euobserver.com/9/29717

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