Saturday 15 January 2011

Reporting on Europe

Minority Thought has written an important post showing how frequently newspapers make mistakes when writing about the European Court of Human Rights. Repeatedly, decisions from the ECHR are referred to as emanating from the EU, despite the two being separate bodies.

As the European Commission's Representative in the UK told editors last year:

Newsdesks and subeditors are asked to note that decisions of the European Court of Human Rights should not be referred to as EU decisions, and the judgements should not be attributed to “EU judges”, or any similar language. The European Court of Human Rights is part of the Council of Europe, a completely separate organisation to the European Union. The UK is a founding member of the Council of Europe, which was created in 1949 by the Treaty of London.

Meanwhile, last Saturday, the Express published its 24-page pull-out 'Get Britain Out of the EU' which 'explained':

why we must rescue our country from EU dictators.

Yes, 'dictators'.

It began with a statement from Express editor Peter Hill. Unsurprisingly, it didn't take him long (his second paragraph) to mention Hitler:

the traditional rights and freedoms of the peoples of Europe have been systematically swept away with a ruthless efficiency that would have been the envy of Napoleon and Hitler.

Hill said the Express 'speaks out' for the 'people of Britain' - a claim as laughable as its one about it being the 'World's Greatest Newspaper'. The Express declare over 150,000 people have signed their 'Get Us Out of the EU coupon'. Since their daily circulation was 623,689 in December 2010 (down 16,001 from November) that's not even a quarter of their own readership.

The pull-out ended with a 'Cross with Europe: Eurosceptics' Crossword'. Yes, really (click to enlarge):


  1. For EU, Europe, Council of Europe read "Foreigners"....

    I was watching a BBC TV news report this week which referred throughout to the EC (European Community), an organisation that ceased to exist a few years back. Lazy, lazy, lazy. And cynical.

  2. Reading through all the clues in that crossword reminds me of the Family Guy sketch with Robert Loggia. "B, as in 'By God, That's Robert Loggia'"

  3. I don't understand half the crossword clues. What "formal test"/"exam" did the EU fail? Why does the EU have "fewer and fewer profitable means of employment" when the Express is always complaining that it's a gravy train? What do French acorns grow into?

  4. atomicspin, to have any idea as to what the answers to that crossword are, I suspect you'd need to have read the Express cover-to-cover, every day since the EU's inception, a fate you wouldn't wish upon your worst enemy!

  5. Depressing stuff. The EU is a multinational entity that was concocted by undemocratic means. How awful. Whereas the UK is... Erm, hang on a minute, we'll get back to you.

  6. 1 down is particularly daft - yeah, the EU is just like a miliatary junta. Twunts

  7. Do you think anyone actually filled it in?

  8. According to tomorrow's Daily Express 373,000 people say no to the EU. Now even if we assume that's not been rounded up by a few hundred, That's still only roughly one 150th of the population or 0.6%.

    Judging from the picture of a tit dressed up as a knight with several rubbish bags at his feet and the claim they have handed it over to number 10 this sounds like the end of thier "crusade".

    I think we'll all agree this is a fantastic response as the Express is finally showing an interest in a minority!

  9. We just got one of these 'Get Britain out of the EU' pull-outs through the door along with a local UKIP paper and UKIP sticker!


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