French news and political bloggers were left unimpressed after the EU officials condemned “Russian disinformation” and encouraged online influencers to stick to a pro-EU narrative during a promo trip to the European Commission.
About a dozen popular French YouTube and Instagram bloggers set off for a journey to the Brussels office of the European Commission in April. The “study tour” as organizers put it included visiting “iconic” EU locations and a series of seminars on “dismantling of misconceptions about Europe.” But, awkwardly enough, what was meant to be the journey of enlightenment was ultimately perceived by young bloggers as surreal dystopia.
“I had an impression that I found myself inside the “1984” [novel] or late USSR with all these zealous officials who are guided by good intentions which as is well known pave the road to hell,” Tatiana Ventose, a presenter of French YouTube show Fil dActu (“Newsfeed”) told RT.
In an earlier report, Ventose, whose show covers stories from French politics and society and is followed by more than a hundred thousand users, revealed that the aim of the journey was “to influence the influencers.” The project facilitators wanted bloggers to put in a “European angle” into their news coverage, lamenting that EU institutions are largely misunderstood by the broader public.
The host side was clearly trying to exert ideological pressure, Ventoses colleague at Fil dActu, Tommy Lassere believes. “They are assured that they act in the interests of the EU citizens and dont understand how could others not share their opinion,” he told RT adding that opponents are regarded as influenced from outside.
The notorious “Moscows hand” also emerged in the discourse. “They told us that disinformation… was used by Russia to destabilize democratic regimes but fortunately the European democracy, French special groups are stronger than that,” Ventose said.