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.
- “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:
- Aim at selecting, checking and disseminating information about the EU;
- Support and reflect EU cultural diversity;
- 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;
- Contain background and explanatory programmes;
- 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:
- How the Contractor is meeting its published standards and objectives concerning the main programme services and types provided as part of EU Services;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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:
- Provide a properly balanced service consisting of a wide range of topics;
- Are broadcast at the times provided for in the Contract or, if not provided for in the Contract, at appropriate times;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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:
- 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;
- 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:
- What due impartiality does and does not require, either generally or in relation to particular circumstances;
- 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.
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.
6.1. 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.
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 channel’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.
A - European Missions to Inform
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.
B - 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.
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).
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.
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.
C - Programmes
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).
1. News Brief (EMI I)
This is the euronews format par excellence: an item fresh on the day, image-rich and with a factual and informative commentary; it primarily focuses on the latest developments, often includes a quotation from an involved personality, and covers a current-affairs topic in 60-90 seconds. The expertise the channel has gained, since its launch, in treating international current events is used directly here to produce lively, accessible news about European affairs.
Module 01: Filmed News
Filmed News packages are mainly produced in Brussels, but liable to be shot wherever European current events are happening. They are to euronews what Haute Couture is to Ready-to-Wear. The emphasis here is on European topics neglected by the international agencies or inaccessible to EbS, but which are provoking public debate on the Old Continent. The intention is for each Filmed News package, after being broadcast on euronews, to be offered to EBU exchange schemes and thus used by numerous national television newsrooms across Europe.
Filmed News packages are intended for insertion in all the euronews’ news programmes: the news bulletins, of course, but also specialist programmes such as Europa and Economia.
Module 02: Post-produced News
Produced by specialist journalists, with content supplied mainly 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. With this Module, 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.
In terms of format and treatment, Post-produced News packages are based on the model of the packages in the Europa programme, which comprises three to four post-produced packages. Beyond this specification, this Module, like the Filmed News packages, is intended for insertion in all the channel’s news programmes.
2. News Perspective (EMI II)
Putting news in perspective is the core purpose of the daily and weekly Modules in this Mission. They are longer than those in the "News Brief" Mission, and differ in seeking more strongly to combine news and explanation. Historical reminders and geographical comparisons help to better assess the importance of the topic in question. In terms of images, this is reflected by complementary use of archive film and infographics. These Modules are particularly suited to explaining often complex European issues, and to comparative analysis at 25-member EU level.
Module 03: Post-produced Long Weekly News
The Long Weekly News packages, 2'15" in length and mainly called Pass, aim to take a detached view of immediate current events, the better to focus on Union-citizen relations. These packages - a place for explaining the European dimension, its institutional specificity and direct implications for viewers – also aim to provide the European insights to understand the news. In particular, they use statistics to help viewers compare their situation to that of their fellow citizens in other member countries.
The Post-produced Long Weekly News packages are intended for broadcast in the Breakfast Briefing slot, together with other random daytime airings: between 8am and 1pm, and between 3pm and 7pm.
Module 04: Filmed Long Daily News
Filmed Long Daily News packages are the fruit of a close collaboration between a reporter in the field and a producer in the euronews newsroom HQ. Filming makes it possible, in a 2' format, to introduce the concise and explanatory package into the treatment of European affairs. This format is more than a fact-based package, and is particularly suited to “field” reporting in Brussels (behind the scenes in the institutions, tensions and controversies between political groups in the European Parliament, clashes between lobbies, street protests, etc.).
The natural home of the Filmed Long Daily News packages is the Evening News bulletins, from 7pm onwards. They may also enhance specialist programmes, and even form their own complementary programme dedicated to the reporting and analysis of European affairs.
Module 05: Post-produced Long Daily News
Like the two previous Modules, the Post-produced Long Daily News packages are intended to more deeply explore European current affairs. About 2' long, they are the format suited to analysing a salient fact, to incorporating expert testimony, and to reporting on trends in public opinion, backed by graphics. This Module could, for example, cover campaigns on European Constitution referendums, providing an opportunity to look at the specific features of the debate and of public opinion in a given member country.
The post-produced Long Daily News packages, like the filmed version, are at home in the Evening News bulletins, from 7pm onwards, and in specialist programmes.
3. News In Depth (EMI III)
The Modules of the “In Depth” Mission are characterised by their use of the different techniques of television journalism with the aim of introducing maximum variety into the on-air treatment of European affairs, while making them an essential theme of the channel's general programmes.
Module 06: Portraits & Interviews
About 6' in length, this Module is an essential complement to the News Modules. Going beyond facts, it concentrates on people, on what they have to say, and on their view of current events. Interviews, though ordinary on a monolingual television channel, attract much stronger attention on euronews, which is deliberately faceless. This Module also provides the chance to offer viewers an exclusive viewpoint from a European decision-maker on the most recent news.
Portraits & Interviews are intended for broadcast on the day they are produced from Monday to Friday, at 9.15pm and then hourly.
Module 07: Debates
The debate is a delicate exercise when staged in an international context and on a multi-lingual channel. However, it is a key format for presenting to viewers the dialectic and democratic dimension of European construction. More than a head-to-head, this Module will seek new forms of genuine confrontation: for example, exposing a European decision-maker to journalists, citizens or experts who are critical, sceptical, or even opposed or hostile. Roughly 7'30" in its final form, the debate will be filmed in a studio, with the cameras focused on the speakers’ expressions and with a deliberate absence of moderation.
The debate is the only monthly Module and will be broadcast 10 times in the Agora slot, between Saturday 2.15pm and Monday 4.15pm.
Module 08: Filmed 8' Features
The report is an instrument particularly suited to helping viewers discover the diversity of Europe. The 8' format is also a way to highlight the impact on citizens of the measures taken by the European Commission. Finally, it is a chance to let citizens have their say, in order to allow the in situ comparison of contradictory viewpoints to which EU policies give rise in civil society. This format is the best way for euronews journalists, who work daily on these issues in a multicultural context, to exploit out in the field the knowledge they have acquired in the Newsroom.
These filmed 8' Features, entitled Europeans, are broadcast during the day in the News and Lifestyle slots. They are given two peak-time airings, in the Evening News slot at 9.45pm.
Module 09: Post-produced 8' Features
EU and other institutions are developing the production of VNRs (Video News Releases), audiovisual instruments that explain their strategic priorities. In view of the material received to date, it is realistic to consider that this flow of content reaching the Newsroom will support a weekly 8' programme. However, the euronews Newsroom reserves the right not to air VNRs not compatible with its editorial or technical quality standards.
Like the Filmed 8' Features, the Post-produced 8' Features, which are also broadcast in the Europeans slot, are broadcast during the day in the News and Lifestyle slots. They are also given two peak-time airings, in the Evening News slot at 9.45pm.
Module 10: European Reviews
A programme particularly well suited to the weekend, the European Review takes an 8' look at the topics that have marked the European affairs agenda in the past week. It is followed by an infographic diary announcing the main events in the coming week.
This programme, entitled Europa Review, is aired four times daily on Saturday and Sunday.
4. European Lives (EMI IV)
Module 11: European Lives
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 30' long. They will amount to a yearly total of 12 hours, or 720 minutes.
ANNUAL QUANTITIES BY MISSION AND 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 schedule.
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
Mission III - 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