EU Covertly Spending Millions on Front Groups to Take Over the Press | FrontPage Magazine

Nothing to see here. An undemocratic multinational organization with unlimited power seeking to quash press criticism through covert means is nothing to worry about.

And if you disagree, you’ll be taken care of too.

Angered by the British media’s coverage of Brussels, the European Commission says it wants to be a “moral compass” against press misconduct, seeking new national and Europe-wide regulatory powers over journalists.

The EU has spent £2.3 million on the previously unpublicised “Mediadem” project to “reclaim a free and independent media”. In a “policy brief” co-authored by its lead British researcher, Rachael Craufurd Smith, Mediadem says it is “simplistic” to “see state influence [over the press] as inherently stifling”.

Simplistic is one of those terms the left loves.

Do you think that state influence that inhibits a free press is a bad thing? Then you’re a simplistic fellow. A caveman who roasts his own meat and draws crude paintings on cave walls. But on the other hand if you realize that we’ll all be better off when a bunch of unelected bureaucrats take the press away from evil capitalists like Rupert Murdoch and put it in the hands of evil bureaucrats in the EU… then you’re a sophisticate.

Mediadem recently produced “recommendations for the UK” demanding the “imposition of sanctions beyond an apology or correction” on errant media outlets and the “co-ordination of the journalistic profession at the European level”.

One Gulag coming up. Will that be all, sir? May I please have another.

Mediadem’s report pays tribute to the part played in its work by the Media Standards Trust and the Coordinating Committee for Media Reform (CCMR), the two key constituents of Hacked Off, whose late-night “deal” with politicians for a regulated press has sparked a fierce backlash among organisations campaigning for free speech.

CCMR, run by Left-wing academics at Goldsmith’s College, London, believes that concerns about the media “should not be confined only to individual abuses” and regulation should not simply be about the “social-worker mediation of grievances”.

The group wants a new media regulator to correct the “national conversation” which it says has been “distorted” by Right-wing newspapers and to change the “terms of public debate” by “imposing public-service duties” on the press.

Well that doesn’t sound at all Orwellian.

Asked whether the Mediadem initiative had been prompted by the EU’s belief that the press treats it unfairly, Dr Craufurd Smith said: “I think there might be an element of that. Citizens have a new expectation to obtain reliable information about what’s going on in Europe.”

She said that Mediadem’s recommendations were about “helping to protect the press from inappropriate commercial pressures and potential political pressures”. “People should not see this as being a threat.”

And if they do… then there may be sanctions and public service duties imposed.

Mediadem is only one of at least five concerted and coordinated initiatives being pursued by Brussels to increase its powers over the media dramatically. Another EU programme, MediaAcT, has channelled about £100,000 of European cash directly to a key Hacked Off ally, the Mediawise campaign group.

Its EU money does not appear in its published accounts, but the grant and its amount was confirmed by Mediawise’s director, Mike Jempson, a lecturer at the University of the West of England. “The money is paid via the university, where we are based,” he said. The EU payments appear to account for almost all of Mediawise’s recent income.

MediaAcT is calling for the kind of “media accountability” favoured by Hacked Off and other such groups. In one of its papers, “Mapping media accountability in Europe and beyond,” Mr Jempson calls for press regulation on the grounds that it will “ensure that minority views and voices are heard”.

The actor Hugh Grant, a director and prominent supporter of Hacked Off, has been closely involved in EU-backed press regulation initiatives. Last June he spoke at an event in Brussels organised by the “Centre for Media Freedom and Media Pluralism,” a third new EU-funded project for “media accountability” established last year and based at the European University Institute in Florence.

Media freedom and media pluralism is now being used to mean media control. Front groups pushing state control over the press by a vast powerful body are being covertly funded by that body. And all that is about freedom and pluralism.

Slavery is freedom, you know. It’s simplistic to think otherwise.

A fifth EU initiative, the “High Level Group on Media Freedom and Pluralism”, recently delivered a report to Ms Kroes, calling for “a more extensive competence of the EU” in the field of media regulation. All EU countries, the report said, should be forced to have “media councils” exercising draconian controls over the press, including the power to ban people from working as journalists.

The “media councils,” the report said, should have “real enforcement powers, such as the imposition of fines, orders for printed or broadcast apologies, or removal of journalistic status”. They should “follow a set of European-wide standards” and be “monitored by the commission to ensure that they comply with European values”.

And they should teach people to love Big Brother.