European Parliament launching channel

Online platform Europarltv inspired by C-SPAN

BRUSSELS -- The European Parliament will launch its own four-channel online platform Wednesday, broadcasting in 22 languages over the Internet.

Europarltv is partly inspired by the government and public affairs programming of U.S. cable network C-SPAN. The aim is to raise the exposure of the EU's only directly elected institution --the 785-member parliament -- which says Europe's citizens have little understanding of their work.

The first channel will be devoted to live coverage of Parliament events, the second is aimed at schools and young audiences, the third for EU professionals like lobbyists and the fourth for the general public -- with the possibility of user-generated content.

More than a third of the €9 million annual budget will be eaten up in translation services, providing voiceovers or subtitles.

Although bankrolled by parliament, it is governed by an editorial charter that requires it to "to reinforce interactivity between the Parliament and European citizens," and "ensure that the plurality of opinion in the European Parliament is reflected, with due respect to the relative strengths of the political groups, in accordance with a neutral, nonpartisan editorial policy."