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Editorial Charter for European Union Contract

I. Editorial Charter for European Union Contract

1. GENERAL PROVISION

The Contractor shall be independent of any instruction, pressure or request from any EU Institution, any EU Member State or any other State or Institution in all matters concerning the content of its “EU Services” as defined by the Contract.

Document Definitions:

“EU Institutions”
All the Institutions of the European Union defined by the Treaties.
“EU Services”
The services and programmes on EU matters provided under this contract.

2. PROGRAMME CONTENT

2.1. Without prejudice to the generality of clause 4, the Contractor undertakes to provide and keep under review the EU Services with a view to the maintenance of high general standards in all respects (and in particular in respect of their content, quality and editorial integrity) and to their offering a wide range of topics (with regard both to the programmes as a whole and to the days of the week on which, and the times of the day at which, the programmes are broadcast), meeting the needs and interests of audiences, in accordance with the requirements specified in sub clause 2.2.

2.2. The requirements referred to in sub clause 2.1 are that EU Services:

  1. Aim at selecting, checking and disseminating information about the EU;
  2. Support and reflect EU cultural diversity;
  3. Contain comprehensive, authoritative and impartial coverage of news and current affairs in the EU and throughout the world when having an EU dimension, as well as of informed debates at regional, national and EU levels;
  4. Contain background and explanatory programmes;
  5. Contain programmes which focus on the impact of EU policies, decisions and actions on the lives of EU citizens and reflect the concerns of both regional and national audiences

2.3. The Contractor shall present an impartial account prepared or commented by professional reporters of the proceedings of the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers of the EU, the European Councils, the European Commission or other EU Institutions and bodies.

3. OBJECTIVES FOR EU SERVICES

The Contractor shall:

3.1. Publish on its website and make available to anybody who require it an annual statement of promises to audiences describing its EU Services, standards and objectives;

3.2. Report in reasonable detail on the performance of the Contract in an annual report presented pursuant to the Contract as appropriate and, in particular, publish on its website an account of:

  1. How the Contractor is meeting its published standards and objectives concerning the main programme services and types provided as part of EU Services;
  2. The editorial standards appropriate to EU Services, the measures taken to ensure compliance with such standards and the extent to which the Contractor has complied with such standards;
  3. The research and consultation undertaken during the year to ascertain the needs and interests of the audiences of EU Services, together with a summary of the main findings;
  4. The subject matter and handling of complaints from such audiences indicating the proportion which was upheld.

4. PROGRAMME STANDARDS

4.1. The Contractor shall do all it can to ensure that all programmes broadcast or transmitted by or on behalf of or under licence from the Contractor as part of EU Services:

  1. Provide a properly balanced service consisting of a wide range of topics;
  2. Are broadcast at the times provided for in the Contract or, if not provided for in the Contract, at appropriate times;
  3. Treat controversial subjects with due accuracy and impartiality, both in the Contractor’s news services and in other more general programmes dealing with topics of public policy or of political or industrial controversy;
  4. Do not include anything which could offend good taste or decency, or is likely to encourage crime or lead to disorder, or could offend those watching or listening;
  5. Do not involve improper exploitation of any susceptibilities of those watching or listening or any abusive treatment of the religious views and beliefs of those belonging to a particular religion or religious denomination;
  6. Do not include any technical device which, by using images of very brief duration or by any other means, exploits the possibility of conveying a message to, or otherwise influencing the minds of, persons watching EU services without their being aware, or fully aware, of what has occurred.

4.2. The Contractor shall:

  1. Draw up, and review at least once a year, a code giving guidance as to the rules to be observed in connection with the application of paragraph 4.1 in relation to its EU Services;
  2. Do all that it can to ensure that the provisions of the code are observed in the provision of services and programmes (the Contractor may adopt different provisions in the code for different cases or circumstances).

4.3. The rules specified in the code referred to in sub clause 4.2 shall, in particular, take account that due impartiality should be preserved on the part of the Contractor as regards major matters falling within paragraph 4.1 as well as matters falling within that provision taken as a whole;

4.4. The rules shall, in addition, indicate, to such extent as the Contractor considers appropriate:

  1. What due impartiality does and does not require, either generally or in relation to particular circumstances;
  2. The ways in which due impartiality may be achieved in connection with programmes of particular descriptions.

Those rules shall, in particular, indicate that due impartiality does not require absolute neutrality on every issue or detachment from fundamental democratic principles.

5. RESEARCH

The Contractor shall make appropriate arrangements to undertake a research and development programme to ascertain the needs and interests of the audiences of EU services, which it may operate both within the Contractor and in collaboration with universities, businesses and others as it sees fit.

6. ETHICS

6.1. The Contractor shall not offer or give or agree to give to any person in EU Institutions any gift or consideration of any kind as an inducement, or reward for doing or forbearing to do, or for having done or forborne to do, any act in relation to the obtaining or execution of this or any other Contract or for showing or forbearing to show favour or disfavour to any person in relation to this or any other Contract or Convention;

6.2. Any breach of this condition by the Contractor or by anyone employed by the Contractor or acting on its behalf (whether with or without the knowledge of the Contractor) or the commission of any offence by the Contractor or by anyone employed by the Contractor or acting on its behalf in relation to this Contract might entitle the Commission, after an appropriate contradictory procedure, to recover from the Contractor the amount or value of any such gift, consideration or commission.

8. EU FRAMEWORK COMMITMENTS

As part of Euronews’ Framework agreement with the European Commission covering the period 2017-2021, Euronews is committed to

  • Progressively increasing and expanding the volume and impact of its reporting of EU affairs and policies
  • Improving the quality of reporting on EU affairs
  • Guaranteeing a European perspective in each of its language services
  • Improving digital coverage of European affairs as part of its wider multiplatform strategy
  • Ensuring an plurastic coverage of EU affairs, covering all audience groups
  • Reinforcing the production and distribution of content in Euronews’ EU languages
  • Reinforcing the production and distribution of content in Euronews’ non-EU languages
  • Exploring possibilities to broaden Euronews public service status, distribution activites and linguistic diversity within Europe

How this is achieved

Euronews fulfills the above missions using a range of approaches including:

  • Using correspondents and experienced freelancer journalists around Europe to report on the ground and bring different perspectives into coverage
  • Investing in original content around stories of European interest
  • Maintaining a multi-lingual team of journalists in Brussels to report on European Affairs through a range of programme formats
  • Working with partners to launch new programmes both on television and online
  • Improving and adapting journalistic workflows to take advantage of new technologies and presentation possibilities
  • Ensuring consistency of coverage by setting multilingual stories for production in all Euronews languages as part of the daily news agenda
  • Adapting content for different platforms, according to European media consumption habits
  • Covering major events as they happen with live images and/or text commentary
  • Conducting interviews with news makers from across Europe and beyond

II. Annual statement of commitment to viewers

Euronews wishes to show its viewers, on a daily basis, Europe as it is: richly diverse and complex.

Ambition and impartiality are the guiding principles that will shape the media’s coverage of current events in and outside the European Union.

A national focus is now too narrow for informing the public and debating the issues. Euronews is tracking the emergence, out in the field, of a genuine European public arena.

Our broadcasting formats - reports, interviews and debates - are designed to observe how the European Union’s actions, decisions and policies impact on its citizens’ lives.

1. EUROPEAN MISSIONS TO INFORM

Euronews has been recognized a mission of European general interest in the field of information since 2010 by the European Commission.

To fully play its role as a transnational media organisation, Euronews must fulfil four European Missions to Inform: “News Brief”, “News Perspective”, “In Depth” and “Live”:

The “News Brief” Mission (EMI I) aims to provide viewers, quickly and concisely, with the day’s essential European news.

The “News Perspective” Mission (EMI II) aims to give them the keys to understanding European current events.

The “In Depth” Mission (EMI III) aims to help them explore the perspectives opened up by being a European citizen.

The “Live” Mission (EMI IV) aims to give them direct access, in real time, to the public debate and to the events that set the tempo of Europe’s institutions.

2. PRODUCTION STANDARDS

In carrying out these European Missions to Inform, Euronews undertakes to comply with high quality standards in order to meet viewers’ expectations and needs.

Independence

The channel pays special attention to its independence when treating topics to do with public-interest, political and social issues, and more generally with all news themes subject to controversy. Programme content must be produced without any pressure from any EU institution, political party or business entity.

In general terms, the duty of independence dictates the conduct of all participants in the editorial production process, from the gathering of news through to its airing. Euronews journalists therefore undertake to “resist every pressure and (…) accept editorial orders only from the responsible persons of the editorial staff” (1971 Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Journalists).

Impartiality

Euronews remains impartial while carrying out its European Missions to Inform. Impartiality is defined essentially as the search to reasonably compare points of view within the bounds of fundamental democratic principles. This consequently enables the topic to be given a horizontal (for/against) or vertical(EU/national/regional) dialectic treatment.

Diversity

The programmes made within the scope of the European Missions to Inform are produced with the constant care to promote cultural diversity, as defined by the Treaty (art. 151). They will aim, in particular, to improve viewers’ knowledge of the culture and history of Europe’s peoples.

Moreover, editorial decisions are always taken with the aim of achieving a thematic and geographic balance in the treatment of news, refraining, in particular, from giving greater emphasis to one national viewpoint than to another.

Respect for viewers

While carrying out its European Missions to Inform, Euronews takes scrupulous care to respect its viewers. Consequently, elements liable to offend viewers’ sensibilities are banned from its programmes.

This applies to all images and information that are manifestly incompatible with good taste and decency or liable to encourage or give rise to acts of violence or disorder.

Further, the editorial managers ensure that there is no indecent exploitation of viewers’ sensibilities, and no abusive exploitation of religious beliefs and opinions

3. PROGRAMMING

To fulfil its four European Missions to Inform, Euronews has devised various Modules to fit better into its overall programme schedule. Below is an inventory describing their content (format, length and structure).

3.1 News modules

3.1.1 News mandatory & specifics

The production will be fed primarily by Euronews own newsgathering, driven by the enhanced production and journalistic capabilities, focusing more on our own original journalism, first-hand accounts, reactions and graphic elements, in order to decrease the use of news agencies.

Produced by specialist journalists, with content supplied by EbS but also footage from EBU member agencies or television channels, the Post-produced News packages give an update on a hot topic attracting public attention in Brussels or Strasbourg and in the member countries. The essential news about European institutions takes a central place in Euronews’ daily schedule, but is subject to increased editorial stringency compared to previous formats and to the general treatment of international news.

3.1.2 Live coverage

There is only one Module in this fourth and final European Mission to Inform: live broadcasts, with commentary and translation in seven languages, of the big events to do with the European Union and its institutions (European Parliament sessions, debates and votes; European Council meetings, press conferences, visits by heads of state and government, celebrations and commemorations, etc.). This direct access to the main events in European public life lets viewers make their own judgements about the decisions taken by the Union’s top bodies. These Live broadcasts may vary widely in length, depending on the event. On average, they will be 40' long. They will amount to a yearly total of 31 hours and 20 minutes.

3.1.3 European Correspondent Network

Euronews’ freelance network focused on putting the spotlight on European citizens and their challenges and achievements.

Our coverage included topics such as the Swedish elections, anti-corruption protests in Romania, the Catalunya crisis in Spain, the bridge collapse tragedy in Italy, the San Sebastian film festival in Spain as well as numerous other daily stories from Eastern Europe to the West of Europe.

Having original content, featuring the voices of those living through the stories we tell has had a positive impact on output. Stories from our freelance network perform on average more than four times better than other stories on our website.

Euronews brings the voices of Europeans from all corners of the continent into our overall focus on the wishes, choices and issues of Europeans at a crucial moment in its history with the elections of 2019 (see Improving News Coverage section).

3.2 Programs

3.2.1 The Brief from Brussels

The Brief from Brussels is a daily news segment complementing Euronews’ overall world news coverage, bringing Euronews’ daily European affairs coverage into a designated news spotlight.

Launched in 2016, The Brief from Brussels has quickly become a strong contribution to Euronews daily news coverage, by bringing a new impetus in our European Affairs coverage through content and presentation. The Brief from Brussels is an evening prime-time presence, included in the evening presented news bulletins on World and all languages, but still marking it as such with dedicated graphics.

Euronews’ European Affairs journalists in Brussels will produce a combination of daily “mandatory” stories as well as “multiplex” ones (several language journalists coming together to produce a common story, each bringing his/her own national ingredients into the pan-European mix), both on the live channel and the other languages channels.

Each journalist will present these stories on camera, targeting their own audiences as well as each journalist going into the field to cover their own content, which is the mixed together into a global output by the Brussels bureau. Euronews World will cover the selected topics in the live formats of this channel through a flexible variety of elements: voice-overs on videos and graphics and main soundbites.

3.2.2 State of the Union

Launched in 2016, The “State of the Union” quickly established itself as a flagship program in our European Affairs news reporting, through the comprehensive content selection and analysis.

The State of the Union is the weekly round-up of the main European political stories, focusing on the main evolutions of the elections campaign, the post-elections developments and the headline making events and their reverberations across Europe. The program is presented by a Euronews Brussels journalist, recorded and produced on Friday, and broadcast from Friday evening through the weekend until Sunday evening.

3.2.3 Insiders

Insiders was launch in April 2016 as a 20-minute weekly program of investigative reporting, focused on European issues with different perspectives. The aim is to tell the often unreported or under-reported stories of European citizens and the challenges they face -- be they economic, social or political.

Insiders is promoted digitally, not only on euronews.com but also with products especially designed for social media such as one-minute or less cut-downs of the show’s most poignant interviews and/or excerpts and short teasers for the program.

3.2.4 The Global Conversation

Conversations without filters, without digressions and without cuts.

This is the idea behind “Uncut - a special edition of the Global Conversation”, our unedited one-on-one interviews; a format we have successfully developed in 2018.

Uncut is an evolution of our flagship program The Global Conversation, where our leading journalists speak to high-profile guests about politics, business, culture and sport.

We will also keep developing the “All Views” strategy in the program, by inviting two or more guests offering different visions on an issue during some key episodes.

Uncut and Global Conversation are highly promoted on air and on our digital platforms. We regularly produce subtitled videos with the highlights of the show, along with articles and pictures that are highly share-able on the social platforms.

3.2.5 Magazines from different DGs of the European Commission

Over the past years, Euronews has consolidated a streamlined set of flagship programmes that present a pan-European perspective not only on the big stories of the day but on issues that affect Europeans that slip under the radar of other international media.

The ‘All Views’ message will remain at the heart of our magazines. Produced by journalists from across Europe, and with the mission to report from all corners of the continent and beyond, these magazines reflect the points of view, perspectives and opinions of as broad a cross section of Europeans as possible. This plurality of views remains a crucial mission statement for Euronews.

We continue to emphasize and innovate our current affairs output and enrich the content of programmes produced in partnership with the DGs. We see these programmes as a contribution to the dialogue and debate in the European public sphere, but also – reflecting the changing times we live in – juxtaposing, comparing and analyzing the national perspectives that reflect the enormous diversity of cultures and values across the Union.

The programmes co-funded by the DGs of the European Commission include:

  • - Aid Zone
  • - Business Planet
  • - Futuris
  • - Ocean
  • - Real Economy
  • - Smart Regions

3.3 Quantity per module

Besides the qualitative undertakings made above, Euronews also gives its viewers guarantees on how many units of each module will be broadcast yearly. Each European Mission to Inform thus has a clearly stated presence in the Euronews grid and programming.

ModuleNb episodes per year
Post produced news stories1300
Specific post produced news stories340
Live47
The Brief from Brussels150
State of The Union47
Insiders10
Global Conversation – short format18
Global Conversation – Long format8
Freelance Network-

ANNUAL QUANTITIES BY MISSION AND MODULE

Mission I - 1,227 News Brief packages

  • Module 01: 141 Filmed News packages
  • Module 02: 1,086 Post-produced News packages

Mission II - 198 News Perspective packages

  • Module 03: 104 Post-produced Weekly News packages
  • Module 04: 26 Filmed Daily News packages
  • Module 05: 68 Post-produced Daily News packages

200 News In Depth packages

  • Module 06: 47 Portraits and Interviews
  • Module 07: 12 Debates
  • Module 08: 47 Filmed 8' Features
  • Module 09: 47 Post-produced 8' Features
  • Module 10: 47 European Reviews

Mission IV - 24 Lives

  • Module 11: 720 minutes of European live broadcasts, i.e. approx. 24 × 30 minutes
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