This week sees the launch of Forum.eu, a bold initiative to bring Europeans together by translating selected articles into readers’ own national languages. The aim is to foster a greater understanding between Europeans of news in neighboring countries and generate an ‘open culture of discussion’.
The platform, headquartered in Berlin but with Editors based throughout Europe, is funded by subscription – for four euros a month, subscribers receive seven curated articles on Europe every day, all of which are chosen for their importance and topicality.
Publisher partners include El Mundo (ES), El Diario (ES), Frankfurter Allgemeine (DE), Diario de Noticias, ECO (both PT), Ethnos (GR), Rzeczpospolita (PL) with more publishers set to join.
Launch languages include English, German, French, Polish, Spanish and Greek, with the aim to eventually include all European national languages.
Subscribers can support Forum by paying more than the four euros subscription fee if they wish – any additional funds will be dedicated to language diversity. The platform, currently in Beta, will remain free through the summer of 2020.
Speaking to WNIP, Commercial Director Philipp Montgelas, said, “One of the core problems in Europe is communication. The idea was born to bring together high-quality media with high-quality articles on one platform and translate them into all European languages. We want to bring Europeans into a discussion without language barriers.”
He said that for its publisher launch partners, “Forum is a complementary digital business model” and will give, “access to analytical data on specific markets, topics, and user behavior and allow participating publishers to receive high-quality editorial translations of selected articles that they can republish.”
Monteglas stressed that the editorial policy would be guided by major debates rather than limiting itself to daily newspapers or leading media, and that other media outlets could apply to join, adding, “The quality of the articles is crucial, but apart from that we also want to show different perspectives on the respective topics.”
20 employees currently work for Forum.eu, with the venture financed by Bonum, a specialist investment company founded by German industrialist Nikolaus von Taysen that invests in companies ‘maintaining ethical standards and working for the social good’. Explaining the vision behind Forum, von Taysen says, “The public sphere does not solely thrive when its members are informed, but when convictions and reservations are challenged by opposing views.”