EU launches EuroMed news

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The European Commission yesterday (15 April) launched a new television channel to promote its neighbourhood policy and boost the visibility of EU-funded projects in the Mediterranean region.

The new channel seeks to “inform the public about the Euro-Mediterranean partnership, facilitate coverage and broadcasting, stimulate dialogue, and promote cultural diversity and gender equality”. 

Part-financed by the Commission to the tune of €2.16m, EuroMed News’s joint production team of France Télévision and hundreds of local broadcasters in countries like Algeria, Jordan, Libya, Syria, Morocco and Lebanon will produce over 17 hours of programming between now and February 2010. 

The channel’s main aims are to stimulate dialogue and mutual awareness of those living on either side of the Mediterranean, and to promote cultural diversity and sexual equality. 

It also seeks to provide the general public with information on the Euro-Mediterranean partnership and enable coverage and broadcasting of Euro-Mediterranean news by broadcasters from across the region. 

A range of programmes, including 300 news topics, 40 thirteen-minute magazines and nine 26-minute documentaries will be broadcast on public television across the North Africa and the southern Mediterranean. 

EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner singled out citizens of the Union’s North African and Middle Eastern neighbours as the project’s “priority customers” and said they would have “more access to detailed information”. 

Possible issues to be covered include employment assistance schemes for young people, eliminating illiteracy among rural women, fighting marine pollution, solar power and the EU’s strategy for developing a “Euro-Mediterranean cultural heritage”. 

EuroMed News will be made available to the rest of the world via the Internet. 

"EuroMed News is a project which aims to strengthen intercultural dialogue with our neighbour partners in the south, broadcasting more information about our European policies not only in the EU, but especially in partner countries too," said EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner, responsible for the European Neighbourhood Policy (see EURACTIV LinksDossier). 

"Covering the whole range of modern media, from TV to Internet, reflects the project's intention to achieve the widest outreach possible," the commissioner said, stressing that the EU executive's aim was to create a "stable and sustainable consortium of partners in the region". 

France Télévision President-Director General Patrick de Carolis said: "EuroMed News is a meeting between two large geopolitical spaces which have the same mother in common: the Mediterranean Sea." 

"It is a meeting between two desires: the European Commission's desire to create stronger links between the north and the south, and Arab and European media professionals' desire to boost intercultural dialogue between north and south," de Carolis continued. 

EuroMed News will increase awareness of the European Neighbourhood Policy and inform citizens of how it is "changing the realities" of citizens in the countries it covers, according to Slaheddine Maaoui, director-general of the Arab States Broadcasting Union

It will also show the world that Mediterranean societies are young, dynamic, modern and open to dialogue, Maaoui added. 

The new service will "inform audiences in the southern Mediterranean countries of actions supported by the European Union benefiting the neighbouring region, within the context of existing intercultural dialogue between the two shores," EuroMed News said in a statement. 

The EuroMed News project gathers international organisations, including the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU), Euro-Mediterranean media association COPEAM and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), and public broadcasters like France Télévision, Algeria's EPTV, Jordan's JRTV, Libya's LJB, Syria's ORTAS, Morocco's SNRT and Lebanon's Téléliban. 

Last summer, heads of state from 43 countries in the region launched the 'Union for the Mediterranean' backed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, which seeks to give regional integration a new impetus by supporting a series of priority development projects (EURACTIV 14/07/09). 

The EU's relations with its Mediterranean neighbours had previously been dealt with under the umbrella of the Barcelona Process launched in 1995, which includes Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian Authorities, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey. Libya has observer status. 

The 'Med Union' is designed to complement rather than rival the Barcelona Process. 

  • March 2009-Feb. 2010: EuroMed News to broadcast on local public television and online. 

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