Telegraph blog takes on EU - Press Gazette

Telegraph blog takes on EU

A Daily Telegraph journalist accused of misrepresenting the views of an EU commissioner has responded by printing a complete interview transcript on his website.

David Rennie (pictured) reported this week that European commissioner for justice, freedom and security, Franco Frattini, was proposing a press charter committing the media to "prudence"

when reporting on Islam and other religions.

The story was based on an interview with Frattini in which the commissioner suggested that in the wake of the Muhammad cartoons row the media "give the Muslim world the message — we are aware of the consequences ofexercising the right of free expression, we can and we are ready to self-regulate that right".

Frattini responded to the story by issuing a statement last Thursday: "Following an article in The Daily Telegraph of today, I want to clarify any possible misunderstandings about my position in regard to the socalled ‘cartoons’ issue.

"There have never been, nor will there be, any plans by the European Commission to have some sort of EU regulation, nor is there any legal basis for doing so."

In what he called "a slightly alarming experiment" Rennie decided to print the complete transcript of the Frattini interview in order to let readers of the Telegraph website decide whether or not the commissioner had been misrepresented.

He said on his blog: "One reason the blogosphere fascinates me, as someone who makes a living from the mainstream media, is because it so clearly shows the long, pent-up resentment of so many readers at the unequal distribution of power, when it comes to the media and the people we write about.

"In essence, for centuries, power was in the hands of those with enough money to cut down trees and print on them — or, later, to transmit radio and TV over the airwaves.

"With the internet, that barrier to access has fallen, and we who are paid to dispense information and opinions must compete with our own readers, for attention and respect."