Wednesday

20th Jun 2018

EU hiring 'myth-busters' on Russian propaganda

  • The Putin show - brought to millions of Europeans by RT (Photo: kremlin.ru)

The EU foreign service is recruiting a handful of new experts to help counter Russia’s anti-Western propaganda.

The job description, sent out on 20 March to EU states’ embassies in Brussels, says their task will be “correction and fact-checking of misinformation/myths”.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join as a group

It will also involve “development and regular updating of EU ‘narrative’ via key messages/lines to take, articles, op-eds, factsheets and infographics, with an emphasis on communicating the benefits of the EaP”.

The EaP, or Eastern Partnership, is an EU policy on closer trade and political ties with six former Soviet countries.

The new staff are to be Russian speakers and to do “analysis/monitoring of reporting on EU policies” in Russian language media.

The group - between two and five people - will also prepare press “materials” in Russian.

They’ll be initially hired for one year and paid at least €4,350 a month. But they’ll be paid by whichever EU countries put them forward because EU institutions have not earmarked any money for the project.

The job description notes they should be former journalists or press officers and know their way around “social media”.

The move comes after EU leaders, in March, tasked the foreign service “to challenge Russia's ongoing disinformation campaign”.

They said the EU should “prepare, by June, an action plan on strategic communication in support of media freedom. The establishment of a communication team is a first step in this regard”.

Russia’s media machine was on show on Thursday (16 April) when president Vladimir Putin held his annual Q&A session with the general public.

Most questions focused on Russia’s economy, the rising cost of food and medicine, or problems with housing and social services.

Putin said in Moscow that EU economic sanctions “have an impact” and that “it's highly unlikely that [they] will be lifted anytime soon”.

He claimed the EU and US imposed them “to restrain our growth” and that they “have nothing to do” with the conflict in Ukraine, because “the Russian army is not in Ukraine”.

He predicted the Russian economy will return to growth in two years.

He also claimed the US forced EU leaders to boycott his 9 May military parade in Moscow, a WWII memorial event.

The TV show, which included glamorous female presenters and questions from starry-eyed children, was broadcast, with live translation, by RT.

The Kremlin’s media flagship has a budget of $300 million a year, employs 2,000 people in 16 countries, and airs shows in English, French, German, and Spanish.

It is reaches millions of households worldwide and it makes the EU counter-project look tiny by comparison.

But the new group of EU foreign service specialists is just one of several measures.

The job description notes they’ll work together with the EU’s foreign embassies and relevant departments in the European Commission.

The EU Council, which represents member states, is also co-ordinating groups of diplomats who will liaise with the EU foreign service cell.

“We’re thinking how best to make use of whatever this team of myth-busters produces. One idea is a virtual network, anchored in the Council’s communications department, to distribute materials to member states”, an EU official said.

A second EU official noted the EU foreign service cell “is only one element”.

He said there will be “a wide range of EU activities aimed at communicating on EU policies and programmes, supporting independent media and media diversity … and promoting freedom of the media throughout the neighbourhood”.

Opinion

Words speak louder than guns

Rather than creating its own counter-propaganda, the EU should reach out to civil society in Eastern Europe and Russia itself via social media.

Opinion

Russian speakers deserve good journalism

The only effective way to address the region’s challenges is to invest in balanced, trustworthy, independent and diverse media, working for Russian-language audiences.

Opinion

Europe could lose out in North Korean bonanza

South Korean businesses including Hyundai and Samsung are already scoping investment opportunities. Will North Korea become a 'new Vietnam' opportunity - or more like Myanmar, where slow Brussels policy-making meant EU exporters lost out.

News in Brief

  1. PES to announce 'spitzenkandidat' names in October
  2. Macedonian parliament ratifies name deal
  3. EU to hit US with import duties from Friday
  4. Commission: New on-road CO2 test would take years
  5. Juncker orders migration 'mini-summit' on Sunday
  6. Luxembourg gave illegal state aid to energy firm
  7. Negotiators lower finger printing age of refugees to six
  8. EU to lift its internal data storage barriers

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  2. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMHRMI Launches Lawsuits Against Individuals and Countries Involved in Changing Macedonia's Name
  3. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  4. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  6. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  10. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  11. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network

Latest News

  1. How to get around the EU posted workers directive
  2. EU needs comprehensive 'sexuality education'
  3. Fate of EU refugee deal hangs in the balance
  4. Merkel, Macron in pre-summit pledge on migration, eurozone
  5. Hungary to push ahead with 'Stop Soros' law on NGOs
  6. Swedish party puts EU referendums back in fashion
  7. EU summit set to outsource asylum
  8. Dutch request to clarify Brexit Britons' rights annulled

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  2. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersCooperation in Nordic Electricity Market Considered World Class Model
  4. FIFAGreen Stadiums at the 2018 Fifa World Cup
  5. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Work Together to Promote Sustainable Development
  6. Counter BalanceEuropean Ombudsman Requests More Lending Transparency from European Investment Bank
  7. FIFARecycling at the FIFA World Cup in Russia
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  9. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and Reconciliation Is a Process That Takes Decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  10. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  11. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  12. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us