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Communicating the EU to its Citizens: The Civil Power of News

Jackie Harrison

There has been much discussion of the relationship between the news media and the civil character of the EU. Much of this discussion has focused on the barriers that prevent the effective communication of the EU to its citizens by the news media. And yet encouraged by economic, single market concerns, we have witnessed the development of EU transnational communicative spaces as new regional and global corporate news providers develop new communicative niches to reach varied European publics. This growth has been accompanied by a fragmented and inconsistent approach by the EU to understanding the civil necessity of European wide public service news and where attempts have been made to stimulate such services they have failed, leading commentators and academics to speak of their limited nature, implausibility, impossibility, or beyond being EU competencies. In this paper I argue that it is both possible and necessary for the EU to develop a transnational independent pan-European public news service, one which is self conscious of the civil power of news and, one which following Schudson, understands news to be a public resource there for when people are ready to take political and civil action.

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