Voices: How Europe's media report euro crisis
- 19 October 2012
- From the section Europe
A hundred young European journalists have been attending workshops in Brussels designed to help them cover the economic and political crises currently engulfing the continent.
BBC News asked some of those from the worst-affected EU states how they viewed media coverage in their countries. Greece, the Republic of Ireland and Portugal have received massive bailouts in the crisis.
Rodrigo Lamas, 29, Television de Galicia, Spain
The coverage is very simplistic. The media, and that includes myself, provide isolated pieces of data for the audience, such as the unemployment figures, without explaining what effect the numbers are going to have on society.
There are exceptions, but in general the media rely a lot on anecdotes. They do not explain the social effects of what is happening, some of which will be irreversible.
The television news shows very short pieces about what is going on, so it is difficult to explain things to the audience. Often journalists themselves do not know and do not make an effort to understand what is really going on.
We have a duty to report what is really happening in our society. There are a lot of really serious things going on which never make it into the media. We should focus more on covering those.
No one in Spain thinks the media is impartial. Media outlets tend to have a defined slant - they either represent the interests of corporations, or of the government, or of the government's opponents. The media are not to blame for what is happening, but we need more explanation and analysis.
Sofia Palma Rodrigues, 26, Freelancer, Portugal
One problem is that the media do not have the resources to cover the crisis properly - there have been huge cutbacks and a lot of journalists at every level have lost their jobs. For example, Publico newspaper just let 48 staff go, out of a total of 200.
Also, a lot of journalism in Portugal nowadays focuses on negative stories. A lot of people do not want to read the newspaper or watch the news on TV because they know it will be negative. That is not the journalists' fault - there are not any positive stories to report at the moment - but people do complain about it.
What the media do not do enough is study the reasons we are in this crisis. They cover the problems people face, but do not try to explain why. They focus on the daily news, but there is no context or critical analysis - they do not have time to do that.
We have lost our industries, our agriculture and fishing - our self-sufficiency. We now rely on tourism and services. They talk about the global crisis and the sub-prime mortgage situation in the US, but they do not talk about the fundamentals.
Dimitrios Pogkas, 23, EMEA Business Monitor, Greece
The media focus a lot on the bad things coming out of the crisis, like people who cannot find money to buy necessities. That is what they should do, of course, but the vocabulary they use often exaggerates the situation.
They also try to scare people away from demonstrating about what is going on. They are saying we have to follow the government's route because there is no alternative, or if there is an alternative, like some parties in Greece are saying, they say that it would lead to complete destruction.
The media are too quick to present the point of view of the government. They do not try to present a different point of view or to educate people about what is really going on, about what the level of debt we have means and about who we owe the money to. They are not fulfilling the role of the media.
The television news presents both sides of the argument in its reports, but most of the people who they bring on to express an opinion, the commentators, express the opinion of the government.
Silvia Balducci, 27, San Marino TV, Italy
A lot of the coverage of the crisis is pessimistic.
In Italy the media are polarised, we have media companies which reflect the political positions of their owners. For example, when [Silvio] Berlusconi was in power, traditionally left-wing outlets said everything was his fault, when really it is more complex than that.
The current government under Mario Monti is seen as more neutral, and so the coverage is less radical. I think Italian newspapers in general concentrate too much on domestic affairs. To understand this crisis it is necessary to open up their perspective a bit more.
Some right-wing newspapers tend to be against the EU and the euro. They think Italy would be better off alone and out of the single currency. Left-wing papers criticise some aspects and policies within the EU, but in general they support it.
Maeve Glavey, 26, Freelancer, Republic of Ireland
I think the television news coverage tends to be quite balanced. [Public broadcaster] RTE, for example, addresses the different perspectives and does not just focus on the bad news.
The print media are more negative. They use a lot of sensationalist headlines to try and get people to buy their papers. There is very little coverage in the written press of positive things done by external actors like the troika [international lenders].
The media cover how things like cutting welfare payments will affect people, but there is not as much discussion about what the alternatives to those cuts would be. There is a lot of coverage of unemployment and public service cuts, but not so much about how that is benefiting us.
Ireland has been successful in meeting a lot of the targets set by the troika. Whether or not you agree with those decisions, the government has been meeting targets and that is not covered as much. The media cover the negative side of the cuts, without following up on how that might be benefiting the country.
The European Youth Media Days 2012: Divided We Stand? event was organised by European Youth Press.