Alana Mann

Bursting the 'Brussels bubble': The movement towards transparency on European farm subsidies

While many social movements are using the digital media effectively to develop and sustain collaborations in transnational networks they struggle to get their issues on to the agendas of the mass media and policy-makers. This paper examines a case of cross-border, data-driven investigative journalism that is creating an alternative public sphere for the discussion of issues of food and agriculture in the EU and providing a political opportunity for the advancement of the agenda of European members of the peasant farmers' movement La Via Campesina. is a network of journalists, researchers, activists and data analysts working together to make the EU farm subsidy system, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), more transparent. Using freedom of information laws (FoI) these actors are pressuring the governments of member states to reveal the 'subsidy millionaires' who are benefiting from a system designed to assist small farmers. This paper argues that the initiative points to new strategic alliances for rural social movements in Europe.

Keywords: investigative journalism,, alternative public sphere, La Via Campesina, EU food and agriculture policies


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Note on the contributor

Dr Alana Mann is a researcher and lecturer in the Department of Media and Communications at the University of Sydney, Australia. Her book Power shift: Global activism in food politics, is being published by Palgrave Macmillan this year.