Friday, December 15, 2006

Belgium Split ...

I've been busy this last 36 hours and completely missed the latest uproar in Belgium.

Note: Peter did a much more well-informed and interesting post on it over here .

Erin wrote asking about 'it' and I took advice from my Belgian on what she was talking about.'

He was smiling when told me of this (yes, he's Flemish): RTBF's CEO, Jean-Paul Philippot, takes full responsibility for a fake news bulletin that portrayed the splitting of Flanders from the rest of Belgium in real time.

It's certainly the craziest idea and best kept secret ever to take shape in the hallways of the headquarters of radio and television company for Belgian Francophones RTBF, on Reyers' Boulevard, reports Le Soir newspaper.

A team of journalists from the RTBF shocked the nation as they broadcast this fictional news bulletin portraying the scission of Flanders live from outside the Flemish Parliament; discussing these unlikely events with journalist, politicians and celebrities.

Several prominent Flemish politicians took part in the broadcast including the speaker of the chamber of representatives, Flemish Liberal Herman Decroo.

The concept had been kept secret for several months and all the interviewees were well-versed in their roles.


Manic said...

Isn't it funny that the entire world knew we Flemish had left Belgium, before we actually realised it? We never heard a thing. Ofcourse this shows us that some news agengts don't pay attention to Flemish TV because all they had to do was switch over the one of the Flemish TV channels to find out it was all mere a joke.

Peter said...

Di, thanks for linking :)

The way the news of this hoax item spread worldwide was actually kind of strange. CNBC started with a "breaking news item" (wow, a broken-up country, and we didn't even invade it :-), followed by the entire French press, including countless French blogs. You can still follow the time -line at Google News and blogsearch.

Autralia published the item before the New York Times did, while most US online newpapers picked up the AP feed later, as a page-filler.

I once talked with Alain Gerlache (way back in the 90's), the current director general of RTBF television (he used to be a plain teacher, once)

Recalling that conversation, I'm not surprised that RTBF-TV (a long-time PS left-wing party station with a "la Wallonie d'abord" - Waloonia First - stand) staged this hoax.

wandering-woman said...

Tee hee.
Ok, but you live right there in Belgium.
And you got your news today from El País, vía me.

Viva España!!!

christina said...

Oh yes, I saw this on Sky News early in the day and tonight they showed the Belgian "news cast".

woman wandering said...

Hi manic, and I still haven't seen anything on tv about it ... guess you have to have it on for that.

Hey Peter, thanks for writing such an informative post ... I should have known to come over and read you before posting.

It cannot be denied ... gracias Erin and El País :)

You're ahead of me Christina ... I hope somebody youtubed it.