Our challenge to the BBC

Article published on July 30, 2003
community published
Article published on July 30, 2003

This article has not been vetted by an editor at Paris HQ

The Kelly case gives cause for reflection. If it is to become a true democracy, Europe needs its own BBC to go with its scandals.

There are those who say that Tony Blair is a liar; there are those who say that the warmongers used lies to provoke war; there are those who say that the body of Dr Kelly is the visible evidence of politics founded in conspiracies; there are those who say that the ‘fourth power’ is dead and that from now on everything will be under the control of Downing Street.

But I would like to see the events of the last few months in the UK repeated in Europe. I would like to see a public broadcasting media (that is to say State media) conduct an inquiry that could cause the government to fall, that could end a war or postpone it, that could force early elections. I would like to see the President of the EU publicly declare that he has not lied. I would like to see the opposition ask for government resignations. I would like to see public opinion in Europe ask hard questions. I would like to listen to a debate in the European Parliament between those who rode the casus belli and those who remember their project to change the word, or at the very least the Middle East.

Luckily, nobody has died in the empty offices of the European institutions. But neither have we ever heard even one spicy political debate, other than the empty controversy between Schultz and Berlusconi. We have seen a European Parliament that is incapable of adopting a resolution on Iraq. We have seen a Convention, which was in a position to re-write our Constitution, forget the citizens. And, if one day something does happen, if, for example, someone does die, who will report it? Who could force a ‘risky’ inquiry on the funds that make their way from Brussels to the pockets of dictators across the world? Who could reproach Prodi for his controversial past as leader of State industry in Italy in the 1980s? Unfortunately, there is no BBC in Europe, no Blair and no Kelly.

But we throw down a challenge to the BBC: café babel can become the European BBC; it can criticise and investigate European power, stimulate public opinion that is gripped by shocking news, make those responsible confront their responsibilities and free them and us. And maybe we could prevent someone being killed.