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British media reporting the EU - London, 6th September 2013

A 'distorting prism' or an honest reflection of reality?

Pile of newspapers
Pile of newspapers

This debate aims to discuss the practices of British press reporting on the EU, to put it into international context and assess its impact on public opinion.  Seen from the Continent, many commentators are surprised by the nature of the EU reporting in some of the British newspapers. We will try to elaborate on this subject by asking two basic questions:

Do some of the most widely circulated British dailies approach the EU with a negative bias and a pre-fabricated agenda? Does the British press reflect or create popular attitudes on the EU?

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Panel I: British media reporting on Europe – fair criticism or misinformation? (09.00-10.00)

As the Centre for European Reform  observed in 2008, “of the roughly 30 million people who read a daily newspaper in Britain, three-quarters read papers that are determined to make people dislike the EU.”  Was this true at the time of writing and is this true today?

Even if commentary may be anti-EU, can we say that reporting of news is neutral and unbiased?

If a large part of British laws originate in Brussels, why do so few British papers have correspondents in Brussels? Does the lack of Brussels correspondents impact on the quality of news reporting?

On the panel:

  • Titia Ketelaar, NRC Handelsblad
  • Jeremy Cliffe, Economist
  • J Clive Matthews, Nosemonkey
  • Bénédicte Paviot, France24
  • Ruth Porter, Institute of Economic Affairs
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Coffee Break

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Panel II: Impact of media reporting on British public opinion  (10.15-11.30)

Which is more eurosceptic: British public opinion or the media? Does the press shape public opinion on EU? If yes, can its impact be measured? In addition to influencing the rhetoric of politicians, does the press actually force the hand of British governments into a course of action on the EU?

On the panel:

  • Catherine Bearder MEP
  • Bill Cash MP
  • Oliver Daddow, Leicester University
  • Anthony Wells, Associate Director, YouGov

Moderator David Aaronovitch