Dear collegues, API-IPA would like to share the following statement with you:
Last week, several complaints have reached us about the handling of news by the SPP.Tuesday afternoon the Commission put out a statement (18/3982) of President Juncker concerning remarks of Commissioner Oettinger earlier the same day in an interview with Deutsche Welle (Voice of Germany).
This statement, although of considerable importance in the current political context, was not made public by e-mail alert. Alexander Winterstein told us the following day that a tweet was sent out immediately. That might be the case, but API thinks that this is insufficient.
We would like to underline our - until now - common understanding that all news the SPP distributes between the Daily News of day X and the Daily News of day X+1 will be communicated to the Brussels press corps by (push) mail.The SPP never approached API with the view to change this procedure and replace it by a 'tweet alert'. Nor did it communicate any unilateral change of this procedure on which accredited correspondents could rely in the past.The second incident concerns the event "Re-energising Europe - Now" which took place Thursday morning. At the beginning of the Q&A-session, President Juncker answered a question on Italy which caused considerable upheaval in the Italian debate. This statement could be found on EbS immediatly afterwards, but was apparently removed for some time from EbS and then put on EbS again.Several colleagues testified that the video of the Q&A-session was not available temporarily at least on Thursday evening. Margaritis Schinas did not deny this in his answer to API (to be found below). In this context API would like to stress the difference between a video available on EbS and/or „via different channels".We urgently call upon the Commission to clarify the reasons why the video of the Q&A part disappeared temporarily from EbS and whether this kind of proceeding is also envisaged for the future. In any case, API judges this way of proceeding totally unacceptable.Many correspondents use and appreciate EbS. But they must be sure that the material which is made available via this website can be trusted at any time! API regrets that the handling of the SPP has impaired this trust.We will approach the SPP again to clarify these issues.API-IPA Bureau
E-mail received from Margaritis Schinas, 04 June, 23.22h
I note the two comments in your e-mail below, which we have already discussed bilaterally with some of your colleagues during the past days and also addressed in the pressroom.
On your first question concerning the Commission's statement of President Juncker on the remarks of Commissioner Oettinger, I would like to assure you that the Spokesperson's' Service always strives to disseminate information efficiently and on this occasion we have acted in full compliance with the API agreement. The agreement foresees that communication with accredited journalists is made as early as possible, "either by email alerts and/or press releases". We communicated timely via a publication on Rapid, which - by the way - offers the technical possibility to everyone to subscribe to real time alerts of publications. In addition and beyond the provisions of the API agreement, we also tweeted the statements, as soon as they were published on Rapid.
On your second remark concerning President's Juncker Q&A session on Italy, I can confirm that as soon as we were aware of the media reaction we did our outmost to provide clarifications and attend to the questions of the journalists. The speech and the Q&A were online and available via different channels; journalists were reacting and tweeting about it. As you would appreciate, technical issues are always a factor in our daily work and the Spokesperson's Service was available and responsive to questions through the late hours of the night in order to provide information and clarity.
I hope this provides the necessary elements that you can communicate formally to your members.
There are several complaints about the handling of news by the SPP I would like to share with you in order to improve working conditions of accredited correspondents.
Tuesday afternoon the Commission put out a statement(18/3982) of President Juncker concerning remarks of Commissioner Oettinger the day before in an interview with DW.
This statement, although of considerable importance in the current political context, was not made known by e-mail alert. Alexander told us the following day that a tweet was sent out immediatly. That might be the case but API thinks that this is unsufficient.
We are aware that the SPP relies increasingly on twitter to inform the public. But we would like to undeline that our commun understanding for the time being is that all news the SPP distributes between the Daily News of day X and the Daily News of day X+1 will be communicated to the Brussels press corps by (push) mail.
In the case of the above mentioned Juncker statement you did not respect this expectation. A tweet cannot replace this procedure and API expects to be consulted should you aim to do so.
The second incident concerns the event "Re-energising Europe - Now" that took place Thursday morning. At the beginning of the Q&A-session, President Juncker answered a question on Italy that made considerable noisy in the italian debate. This statement could be found on EbS immediatly afterwards but was apparently removed for some time from EbS and than put on EbS again and removed again. Saturday I could not find it on the EbS page!
It did not help that Mina told us in the Friday briefing that the complete event was always available on-line - which was obviously not true.
This exposes the Commission to the suspicion to manipulate its communication and the media and it undermines the trust of the press corps. The Commission is certainly not obliged to tell us everything but what we are told has to be correct and reliable.
API regrets that this principle has not been respected.
I wish you a nice weekend.