The International Herald Tribune has reported that the European Parliament is subsidising journalists to cover its parliamentary sessions in Strasbourg. Legislators say the move aims to ensure that the EU’s only democratically elected body is not ignored. Whilst this is likely to generate outrage from many media pundits it cannot be compared to the Pentagon’s contract with the Lincoln Group. In the latter case the Bush administration was paying Iraqi news outlets to print positive articles while hiding their sources. There have been no reports of the EU parliament attempting to influence coverage in this case. As the European Parliament begins to hold greater power over the countries it encompasses it is important that the less-wealthy nations have equal access to the decision-making process. It is clear that the media can influence decisions made by governments, not least by raising awareness amongst its readers. If certain countries are denying their citizens coverage of a body that can have a major influence on their lives then they are equally taking away their opportunity and right to question any decisions being made.
However, in the case of the journalist quoted below, I would suggest they are in the wrong profession:
"The parliamentary sessions are stultifyingly dull, so the Parliament does whatever it can to make it easier for us to work here, including paying for our journeys and providing plush facilities" said a broadcaster who has benefited from the program.