PRESS RELEASE published on 24 Jul 2012 • Department / Unit Director General's Office European Affairs

European Union entrusts the EBU with strengthening public broadcasting

European Union entrusts the EBU with strengthening public broadcasting in EU accession countries

Brussels, 24 July, 2012: The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and the European Commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding today to support the reform of public broadcasting and promote its sustainability in the countries that aspire to join the European Union.

Photo EU Commission. EBU President Jean-Paul Philippot (on the left) and Commissioner Stefan Füle

The reform of public broadcasting, as well as media freedom and pluralism, are key accession criteria for countries wishing to enter the EU.

The EBU and the Commission will work together to help enlargement countries establish public service media that fulfil standards of independence, effectiveness, public accountability and economic sustainability.

Welcoming the agreement, the EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Füle said: "The EU enlargement process is about assisting the aspirant countries with their transformation and reaching European standards in all areas of life. For the challenging task of helping public broadcasters with the reform, we have an important ally with the necessary expertise and experience, the EBU, with whom we share the same goals of promoting freedom of expression and public service media."

EBU President Jean-Paul Philippot also hailed the partnership. "The EBU is extremely pleased that the European Commission has recognized our work across Europe in supporting broadcasting reform, training and capacity-building for journalists and media professionals. We look forward to the challenge, and to strengthening cooperation in other EU neighbouring countries over the years to come."

The EBU President said the task of reforming public broadcasters will be complex if changes are to be sustained.

"Public broadcasters not only need financial continuity, they require protection from undue political interference and the potential to work with modern technologies – indispensable in today's fast paced media environment. All this should be combined with living up to the core values of public service media: universality, independence, excellence, diversity, accountability and innovation.”

Commissioner Füle also expressed support for the EBU's work in the Caucasus and northern Africa. Both Mr Füle and Mr Philippot agreed to have more coordinated and closer cooperation in these so-called Southern and Eastern Neighbourhood countries.

Note to editors:

The MoU is part of the EBU Partnership Programme (EPP) which aims to strengthen public service media in Europe through tailored interventions to selected EBU Members in need of strategic consultancy, lobbying, training and political intervention. Activities are carried out in partnership with the broadcaster concerned and fellow Members acting in a spirit of solidarity, often with the support of external bodies, such as the European Commission.

Key initiatives to be coordinated by the EPP include:

  • the organisation of regional change management training courses; consultation with management of individual PSM, and the drafting and adoption of long-term strategy and action plans;
  • concrete cooperation among the region’s PSM in the field of digitisation, to make common archives available to all, especially in the fields of news and current affairs, and recent history;
  • training in public service news, the creation of integrated multimedia newsrooms and investigative journalism;
  • media literacy activities to help bridge the digital divide, empower citizens to democracy, and create a trusted space for citizens to use and learn to use new media technologies.

About the European Broadcasting Union (EBU)

The EBU serves 74 Members in 56 countries in and around Europe. It represents its Members and promotes the values and distinctiveness of public service media in Europe and around the world. The Eurovision and Euroradio networks deliver news, sports, events and music to EBU Members and other media organizations. Services to Members range from legal advice, technical standardization and development to coproduction and exchange of quality European content.

For more information about the EBU: www.ebu.ch and www.eurovision.com