From our José Baptista, our Portuguese ambassador.

On the 10th of March, the European Student Think Tank, in partnership with GACCUM (Group of Students of Sciences of Communication from Minho University), hosted a conference on ‘The Influence of Media in EU decision-making’, with speakers Luis Santos, Professor and Journalist, and André Miguel Rodrigues, councilman in Povoa de Lanhoso, giving their views on the matter, moderated by José Carlos Baptista, EST’s Ambassador to Portugal, and Ângelo Cunha, president of GACCUM. Beneath, there is a small video and short summary of what was said on this debate with over 40 students.

Ângelo Cunha, President of GACCUM: Ângelo talked about what he felt needed to change in media communication, highlighting the need for a simpler and more easily accessible way of communicating that would be able to reach the younger generations.

José Carlos Baptista, EST’s Ambassador to Portugal: José gave the example of how EU is impacting his area, Law, to stress its importance in our daily life and talked about the need to make politicians accountable for their decisions at EU-level and that the media should take the lead in making that happen.

André Miguel Rodrigues, Councilman in Povoa de Lanhoso: Giving the insight from a politician, André used the example of the milk production quotas to argue that the media only give the bad news and not the good ones. He also talked about his experience working in proximity with MEP José Manuel Fernandes. In response to a question from the audience, he also added that Portugal is a lot better off inside the EU.

Luís Santos, Professor and Journalist: Luís talked about the various mediatic cultures within the EU and criticised the media for being too acritical at times, which helped the surge of extreme movements like Syriza and Front National, that seem in them the alternative to the status quo that makes them feel unrepresented. He also mentioned that it is very difficult to explain to the common citizen how the European bodies work. Finally, he said that the traditional have to adapt to the new challenges and should work on a more profound level and tell those stories to the citizens.

Participants: The students attending the conference asked the speakers on variety of matters, in which two stood out as recurring, the influence of the media in people’s understanding of european events like the Greek elections and what could they do to change the state of things when they are the ones working on the media.

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