April 6, 2012
On Fools day, EurActiv published a spoof titled “Belgians submit Citizens’ Initative to make ‘frites’ their own“. It was EurActiv Publisher Christophe Leclercq’s idea to highlight by an April spoof the European Citizen Initiative, officially launched on the same day 1 April.
The story was realistically written by my distinguished colleague Frédéric Simon.
Too realistically maybe…
Much to our surprise, it became serious news in many countries. In my country Bulgaria, it was quoted by bTV, the biggest public TV station, as real news, and the respected website Novinite.com carried the story, quoting bTV. Maybe as a follow up of the Schengen disputes, a special emphasis was brought to the reported possible blockade of the Belgian border by angry French farmers…
In Russia, the high profile RIA Novosti carried the news, and even their Brussels correspondent Alexander Shishlo signed the story. Probably as a consequence, many websites took up the story, in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. Some are very professional and highly specialised, like the website “The Food Monitor“. But my personal favourite among them is a Ukrainian one called “Centre for Investigative Journalism“.