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EU election and voting links released by JMECE Lab

EU election and voting links released by JMECE Lab

JMECE Lab presents a selection of online sources aiming to share European Elections 2009 campaing onlne links and other useful EU websites. To access the publication, click here or download it from here http://www.box.net/shared/jbng3vkpk8

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Conference theme: In June 2009 European citizens will elect a new European Parliament, some of them who joined the European Union only recently for the first time.

Conference theme: In June 2009 European citizens will elect a new European Parliament, some of them who joined the European Union only recently for the first time.

17 – 18 September 2009

The conference will be organised by the ECREA Political Communication section, the Centre for Digital Citizenship and the Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence at the Institute of Communications Studies.

Conference theme: In June 2009 European citizens will elect a new European Parliament, some of them who joined the European Union only recently for the first time.

2009 will also see numerous national elections throughout Europe. The Political Communication section will take this important election year in Europe as an opportunity to revisit one of the key areas of political communication research – how democratic participation is shaped and transformed by processes of mediatisation and what consequences this has for the nature of contemporary citizenship.

The nature of democratic citizenship is presently undergoing fundamental changes, which are assumed to have far-reaching consequences for the way democracy works. The relationship between citizens and their elected representatives seems to be characterized by growing distance, mistrust and ignorance. Long gone are the days of an ideal (or idealized) Athenian polity where political engagement was regarded a virtue and daily life was permeated by political debate.

Instead, a growing number of citizens has withdrawn from politics and doesn’t even find it worth the while to follow the news or to cast their vote. Meanwhile, the enthusiasm that initially inspired the citizens of the new democracies in Eastern Europe has evaporated and we now see similar patterns of disenchantment in these countries like in their established counterparts. Media organisations and political actors have responded to these developments in various ways – so far without significant success. Turnout continues to drop, and news programmes, in particular current affairs programmes, are losing their audiences.

Are modern democracies, then, left without citizens, as Robert Entman suggested twenty years ago? The question is even more urgent with regard to the European Union, which for a long time has been largely ignored by its citizens, but is now at risk to be rejected altogether, as the recent No votes in the referenda in Ireland, France and the Netherlands demonstrate.

However, the situation might be more ambiguous and complex. While citizens are withdrawing from institutionalized politics and established channels of communication new arenas of participation and new forms of communicating political ideas have emerged, which for many – in particular the young – appear more meaningful and more trustworthy. In particular the Internet has opened up new spaces for democratic citizenship from the local to the global level that could not have been dreamed of twenty years ago.

The ECREA Political Communication sectional workshop aims to provide a forum to discuss these themes with scholars who are working on the changing nature of citizenship, political involvement and the media both in the European and the national context.

Call for Papers

We invite empirical as well as theoretical papers that contribute to understanding contemporary democratic citizenship and the role of the media, old and new, in shaping the way it is experienced and practiced. We are particularly interested in papers that address the following aspects:

* European citizenship: media and perceptions of Europe; Participation and vote choice in European elections and referenda.

* The ballot box and beyond: media and national electoral politics; non-institutionalised participation; non-voting and political disengagement.

* Communicating to citizens: Mediated and mediatised political messages; implications for political information and participation.

* Making sense of politics: citizens’ response to political information; information processing and civic knowledge.

* Conceptualizing citizenship (European, national): relationship between media and citizenship; lay understanding of citizenship.

Submission of contributions: Abstracts of not more than 500 words should be sent to ics-conferences@leeds.ac.uk, mentioning ‘Mediated citizenship’ in the subject line. Deadline: 15 May 2009 If you wish to propose a whole panel please get in touch with Dr. Katrin Voltmer at k.voltmer@leeds.ac.uk

Key note (Thursday afternoon) Prof. Peter Dahlgren – Lund University, Sweden: “Mediated Democracy and the Centrality of Civic Identities and Practices”

Please download registration form and send to ics-conferences@leeds.ac.uk

Contact: Dr. Katrin Voltmer (academic organiser) Houldsworth Building, Room 3.50 Institute of Communications Studies University of Leeds Leeds, LS2 9JT United Kingdom Email: k.voltmer@leeds.ac.uk Tel: +44-(0)113-3435829 Fax: +44-(0)113-3435808

Leeds Euro MP Richard Corbett

Leeds Euro MP Richard Corbett

News release from the Office of Richard Corbett, Labour MEP for Yorkshire & Humber

Labour Euro MP for Leeds, Richard Corbett, will talk about what the European Parliament has achieved for EU citizens, at the University of Leeds’ ‘You And The Future Of Democracy In Europe’ conference this Friday.

The conference is organised by the university’s Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence and will also consider the forthcoming European elections, EU citizenship, communication within the EU and citizens’ perspectives of the EU.

Richard said: “It was MEPs that voted to give temporary workers the same rights as people on permanent contracts, a decision that improved the pay and rights at work of tens of thousands of people in just Leeds alone. It was MEPs that fought for and agreed the climate change package and it was MEPs that voted to provide the UK with EU money following the severe flooding of 2008. MEPs make a real difference to how EU legislation is shaped and because they are elected they provide a direct link between citizens and the EU itself.

“The European Parliament has made a massive impact on the way the EU is run and the way Europe-wide laws are agreed. The majority of proposed EU rules require the approval of the parliament and it is up to MEPs to either reject them outright or improve them by negotiation

Article by Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Presidency of the European Union between January and June 2009

Article by Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Presidency of the European Union between January and June 2009

In the latest JMECE Lab newsletter we have the honour to include an article written exclusively for the JMECE Lab by Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, EU presidency of the European Union between January and June 2009.

INTRODUCTION: The motto of the Czech Republic EU presidency is “Europe without barriers”. The Czech Republic will be presiding over the meetings of EU-27 between January and June 2009. The main priorities of the Czech Presidency can be summed up as “the 3 E’s”: Economy, Energy and External Relations.

ARTICLE:

Over Prague, a giant metronome counts the time of the Czech Presidency. It stands on the site of a memorial to the Soviet dictator Stalin, put up with great pomp in the 1950s and then stealthily disposed of during one night. A megalomaniac statue of an autocrat that was to stand “forever” has been replaced by a subtle symbol of transience and the passing of time. True, it sometimes seizes up, which is a technical glitch, and the European Union flag has been twice damaged by vandals, which is being dealt with by the police (although the twelve stars on a blue background are not a “state symbol”), but the Czech Presidency goes on, works on fulfilling its priorities, the “3E’s” – the Economy, Energy and Europe in the world – and has also responded to unexpected events, which, for now, we refer to as the “2G’s” – Gaza and gas.

However, the metronome makes me also think of Fellini’s mock-documentary “Orchestra Rehearsal” in which the Italian director depicts a revolt of musicians who depose the conductor and replace him with a metronome. The director commented on the political metaphor by saying: “Before I hear it with my own ears, I cannot believe that such an inharmonious community of humans, metal and wood can coalesce into one single melody”. For the first half of 2009, the Czech Republic has chosen the slogan “Europe in sweet harmony”. This is to say that we consider our Presidency to be about a search for equilibrium and moderating joint debates rather than pushing through our own interests and ambitions. At the same time we wish our Presidency to be as open and transparent as possible. Of course, we cannot afford this in certain strategic or security-sensitive areas, but in principle we put more faith in dialogue than in monologue; the former is not only easier to listen to, but also to understand.

The European Union – or rather its institutions – are struggling against a crisis of trust. A thirty-year-long opinion poll, i.e. the elections to the European Parliament, show that this has been a long-term, consistent trend. The institutions try to act all the more decisively and convincingly, but whenever someone voices a different opinion or even criticises their actions, they often become wimpy – i.e. they reject even valid objections. Pressure for the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty or shuttling between the seats of the European Parliament are thus seen by the general public above all as symbols of obstinacy and unwillingness to listen.

True, for institutions to work together, they need rules to play by or, if you like, a common score and rhythm, and also somebody to make sure that these rules are respected, but, coming back to Fellini’s orchestra, I think it is symptomatic that the musicians often don’t share their conductor’s zeal for the cause and after some time tend to reject his authoritarianism. However, they realise that they need direction and consequently choose the metronome over the man.

“Over Prague, a giant metronome counts the time of the Czech Presidency. It stands on the site of a memorial to the Soviet dictator Stalin, put up with great pomp in the 1950s and then stealthily disposed of during one night."
“Over Prague, a giant metronome counts the time of the Czech Presidency. It stands on the site of a memorial to the Soviet dictator Stalin, put up with great pomp in the 1950s and then stealthily disposed of during one night.”

The error is manifest – the conductor had been stepping up his rigour and pressure as criticism directed at him grew, until he lost all backing. He could not bear the criticism nor the challenges; he responded with increasing authoritarianism. A bad communication strategy, we would say today. The apathy of Fellini’s musicians who say: “We have no deeper interests. What are we interested in? Nothing”, and the ensuing disunion are resolved by the impact of a wrecking ball which breaks through the walls of the chapel where the rehearsal is taking place. The conductor picks up his baton again but, instead of humility and respect for others, he starts voicing orders much more strongly than before. With a bit of exaggeration, we could say that the EU is also experiencing turbulence, which has been provoked by the financial crisis. If its institutions respect the different positions of the Member States, their respective situations and the different expectations of their inhabitants, they will boost their trustworthiness, but if they issue new orders that are binding on everybody without distinction, there will be yet another decrease in the turnout at this year’s elections to the European Parliament.

This is what the Czech Presidency brings forward for other EU Member States to consider. Let us not succumb to the momentary mood provoked by the impact of the economic crisis and let us not give up the functioning mechanisms. Let us not weaken the strength of the internal market and let us not undermine Europe’s competitiveness. Let us realise that musicians cannot do without technical rules or without a conductor, but everybody is responsible above all for tuning their instrument and for playing by the common score. I believe that in the end, the important relation is not that of metronome and conductor, but that of orchestra and audience. The tempo may vary but false notes are audible at once.

Production of a short film  marking the “50th anniversary of the European Parliament and 30 years since the first Euro-elections”

Production of a short film marking the “50th anniversary of the European Parliament and 30 years since the first Euro-elections”

Future activities of the project, “Europe in my eyes”, (supported by the European Parliament)

8th-11th December 2009
Film on young people’s views on Europe / Filming in Brussels

JMECE LAB team will film parts of the Euro-film in Brussels this December. The focus of this production is the European elections, political participation and mobilization of young people and how young people perceive themselves as European citizens with the right to vote for the European Parliament. ICS Broadcast Journalism undergraduates have a special role in this project under the direction of Judith Stamper, ICS Programme Head of Broadcast Journalism.

Script/production supervisors: Stergios Mavrikis & Fabro Steibel,

Initial Idea: JMECE Lab members May Jacobs, Stergios Mavrikis, Agnes Inge Schneeberger, Fabro Steibel, Anna Zoellner.

Producer: Vivienne Errington-Barnes.

Director: Ali Dickinson.

Writer: Nick Miller.

Ass. Producer: Maya Manwaring,  Camera: Joe Davis, A.D.:Anna Spragg, D.O.P: Charles Woods, Editor : Will Lock, Script Political Supervisor: Luke Errington-Barnes, Hair & Make-up: Jessie Young, P.D.: Laura Smith, Special Effects: Will Lock, Composer: Howard Carter, Ass. Writer: Emma Brown, Lighting: Tom Lane, Lighting Ass.: Jonny Hughes, Boom/Grip: Alex Darwin, Ass. Script Political Supervisor: Sundeep Kumar, Production Design Ass.: Cameron Carswell, Costume: Jinny Howarth, Costume Ass.: Klaudia Stoniek, Researcher (film): Amy Moorcroft, Production Ass.: Cristina Cretu, Runner: Teresa Lee, Runner: Edmund Perou, Runner: Lucy Dixon, Research Heads (politics): Lauren Worrall, Renata Cordeiro, Emma Preston, Sound Editor: Lee Charallah, Animation Composer: Callum Oliver.

Click here for the EuroBlogFest:

Prize won

The JMECE docudrama “Do it like a European?” wins prize at the international Winton Film Contest

Visit our Special Euro Elections section:

Activities supported by:

UK Office of the European Parliament

UK Office of the European Parliament *

EU Commission Representation in the UK

EU Commission Representation in the UK *

Supported by:

University of Leeds
Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence

Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence

Institute of Communications Studies

A member of:

Sent - Thematic Network of European Studies

Sent - Thematic Network of European Studies

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Dr Richard Corbett, MEP welcomes the JMECE LAB

“Congratulations to Leeds ICS in being a step ahead of the rest of Europe in this interesting initiative.”

JMECE LAB photo collection

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Disclaimer: We are pleased to acknowledge the support of the European Parliament and the European Commission, and the Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence, University of Leeds. They are not responsible for the content of our pages, or of any material displayed.

JMECE Lab logo © Talke Hoppmann & Fabro Steibel Copyright © 2008 JMECE Lab

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