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Europhonica: the “pop” Europe of the young colleagues of Antonio e Bartosz

The radio studio of the Parliament in Strasbourg has been named after Megalizzi and Orent-Niedzielski, victims of the terror attack of past December 11. The testimony of university journalists who have returned to speak of the European Union. A “new narrative” of Community Europe comprehensible to all EU citizens.

Strasburgo, 11 febbraio: i giovani giornalisti di Europhonica intervistano il presidente del Parlamento europeo Antonio Tajani (foto SIR/Marco Calvarese)

(Strasbourg) Europhonica microphones had been turned off the morning of December 11 2018, when the friends and colleagues Antonio Megalizzi and Bartosz Orent-Niedzielski were mortally wounded in a terror attack in Strasbourg where they travelled to follow a session of the European Parliament, like the one that began today, February 11. Two months later, their colleagues, most of whom young university students, returned here in Strasbourg to turn on those same microphones for a briefing on the parliament session in the name of Antonio and Bartosz, with the impetuous determination that is typical of youths with a dream, an idea, or a project. Their project addressed to their peers, university students, and other recipients, is titled “The European Union: a  complex machine”, said Caterina Moser, among the young protagonists of this experience. “We are no better than others and certainly we are not the first, but were are motivated by a strong passion to serve the young, the most difficult of all audiences. “Europhonica is a network of university radio stations representing several European countries, created on 1 September 2015. Until today it has carried out its activity independently and without any form of financial support, “only passion”, reiterated Clara Stevanato, copy editor, with “the rigor of journalists” and “no politics”, exchanging different views and not necessarily all of them pro-Europeanist.”

Efforts aim to “inform on the activity of the institution focusing on a point of contact with the public ” of university-educated youths.

But “only 2% of them has had an Erasmus experience. The narrative describing the ‘Erasmus generation’ is untrue. In the past three years we persistently tried to capture the attention of the young and involve them.” And they will get involved only “if we make the European Union more ‘pop’.” Andrea Fioravanti brought the example of an article written by Antonio to describe an event like Brexit that was “extremely distant from the millenials.” Antonio had written the story starting with the question: “what will happen to Premier League players after Great Britain exits the EU?”. “That’s our approach”, Andrea concluded, “to try to understand and simplify the language of MEPs.”

Europhonica – in the words of the young “colleagues” of Antonio and Bartosz – is a “citizenship journalism” workshop,

an area for journalistic training, learning, focusing on the “European machine”; an opportunity for an exchange of experiences between youths from different countries. While this experience only became known after the tragic death of Antonio, now many  youths agree that “it’s a beautiful experience that must be supported.” “This is the time to do so”, declared the young participants of Europhonica. The President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani was asked to do everything possible to make the dreams of Antonio and Bartoz – that are also our dreams – come true by next May.”

In the meantime, today, symbolically, EP President Antonio Tajani unveiled a commemorative plaque placed at the entrance of the radio studio of the European Parliament, in remembrance of the two murdered journalists.

In his address to family members and colleagues Tajani declared: “Antonio and Bartosz were part of us; they were welcomed by everybody. They were members of our family here in Strasbourg and Brussels.” “We cannot heal the wounds of your heart” said the EP President, turning to family and friends, but no one will forget Antonio and Bartosz , whose informative and pro-European project “has been restarted.” “Europe is not Parliament, Europe is not the Commission”, added Tajani: Europe “consists in values, our values – peace, rights, freedom and democracy – to which these young people devoted their efforts, that we share and are ready to defend. This is how Antonio and Bartosz’s memory will live on.”

The proposal of this symbolic commemorative gesture was made by MEP Silvia Costa who also asked to “establish a scholarship for young European journalists who want to inform their peers about Europe in the name of Antonio and Bartosz.” Costa also proposed “to create by 2012 a dedicated section to support quality European journalism, the fight against fake news and the development of critical thinking”, and in particular “a line of funding to finance European projects promoted by university radio stations to inform young people about Europe. I call upon the political groups to support my proposal and make it yours.”

Another project to be launched in Strasbourg is the “house of Bartosz”,

a meeting place in the city to further dialogue, encounter, debates and creative expression. Dorotée, mother of the young Polish victim Orent-Niedzielski, described the “educational and social initiative, an area for the promotion of healthy, co-responsible living, to raise collective and individual awareness.” The municipality of Strasbourg has already conveyed an interest in supporting the project. In that “home”, inter alia, Europhonica will finally have a studio. Deathly bullets failed to thwart the European dreams of Bartosz and Antonio.


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