NEWS published on 11 Dec 2013

WWI Centenary poll to probe modern views on self-sacrifice

On the eve of the World War I centenary, European public service radio audiences will mull a series of challenging questions regarding their attitudes towards the ultimate sacrifice. 

A questionnaire produced by Radio France in collaboration with German Public Radio and financially supported by the Euroradio Development Fund, asks what people would be willing to die for today.

Responses will be pooled for EBU Active and Associate Members. In addition to Radio France, nine broadcasters are participating: BBC (UK), RTBF (Belgium), Radio Canada, Deutschlandradio ARD (Germany), Polskie Radio (Poland), Radio Romania (Romania),  RTS  (Switzerland), RTS (Senegal), Voice of Russia. More Members are welcome to join.

Participants will translate the replies and produce programmes with their audiences in mind, thereby fulfilling "an important aspect of their public service mission", according to the Head of Euroradio, Christian Vogg. 

The results of the poll will be presented in June 2014 at a conference organized by Radio France. President Jean-Luc Hees said the survey will help Europeans find a fresh perspective on a conflict that continues to define geopolitics today.   

“We cannot prepare to commemorate the centenary of the start of World War I without reflecting on a certain number of questions," he said."What would we risk our lives for? Our family, our political beliefs or our country? What are our common values at the dawn of a new century?”

General Director of Deutschlandradio, Willi Steul, added: “What have we learned from the horror at Verdun, when entire university classes marched off to war with flowers in their rifle barrels, expressly prepared to sacrifice their lives?”

In support of Member activities, the EBU is offering a portfolio of WWI-themed projects, supporting a range of high impact co-productions across genres and platforms, connecting broadcasters, and providing facilities for the exchange of archive material. This portal will serve as a hub cataloguing commemorative projects.