Flanders’ media minister is new president of US?


In a bit of fake news, Flemish minister Sven Gatz opened his new Citizen’s Cabinet, which invites residents to weigh in on their consumption of media

‘What can we do better?’

Facebook users might have been confused recently when they saw what appeared to be Flanders’ media minister being sworn in as the president of the United States. Snapping photos of the Lincoln Memorial, taking his seat in the oval office … that certainly appeared to be Sven Gatz.

But it was in fact a video showing how easy it is with a little technology to send fake news around the globe. This was Gatz’s clever bid to invite residents of Flanders and Brussels to sign up for his next Burgercabinet, or Citizens’ Cabinet, focused on the media.

The minister has already held Citizens’ Cabinets on youth, culture and the Flemish relationship with Brussels, all policy areas under his remit. Media will finalise the process in all his policy areas.

The video is a nod to the debate around fake news, an area in which a lot of work needs to be done,” says Gatz. “It is the starting point for the new Citizens’ Cabinet Media. I want to find out how engaged citizens get their information in a media society that has changed utterly and what we can do better.”

Anyone who can speak and read Dutch can take part by visiting the Citizens’ Cabinet website and immediately making a suggestion or taking part in an online debate, which are scheduled for specific days and times. Your idea could be chosen to be part of the big final debate at the Flemish parliament in April. You can sign up to be considered for that, too.