Democracy in Europe: The Telecom Package


Last week I sent an email to the 24 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) that are supposed to represent me, regarding the second reading of the Telecoms Reform Packet.

My letter was based on the text proposed by Blackout Europe campaign. In addition, my letter asked each MEP to inform me of his or her view on the subject and how he or she voted. Finally, I mentioned that I might publish the responses I would receive, and whether I received a response.

Fortunately, the vote result was positive for net neutrality and freedom of speech, adding an amendment that will prohibit arbitrary ISP actions without a prior court decision. On the other hand, the response I got from my email was disheartening. From the 24 MEPs I sent the email only one, Marie Panayotopoulos-Cassiotou, had the courtesy to respond. In her response, she wrote that she considered the position of her group (the European People's Party), as expressed by a FAQ document sent by Malcolm Harbour, as appropriately balanced. I haven't been able to locate this document on the web, so I link it here for those interested. Claims made in the document are thoroughly debunked at the Blackout Europe front page, but the misinformation contained in the document is clear to any technology-informed reader.

Two things bother me most. First, two-way communication with the vast majority of the MEPs who represent me is non-existent. They don't seem to be bothering to respond to email, although they have taxpayer-paid assistants who could easily handle this task. However, they are ready to spend vast sums on publicity when the time comes to vote for them. Second, some MEPs seem to base their voting on misinformation they receive along party lines based on entrenched business interests. This is a sad state of affairs.

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Last modified: Sunday, May 10, 2009 3:07 pm

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