NEWS published on 20 Nov 2018 • Department / Unit MediaInitiative or Policy Media Freedom & Pluralism

EBU and United Nations Office at Geneva sign agreement to expand collaboration

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) have signed a Letter of Intent to cooperate, expressing their intention to continue working collaboratively and build on a number of initiatives for the future.

The Letter of Intent was signed by UNOG Director-General Michael Møller and EBU Director-General Noel Curran, at the EBU Headquarters, to commemorate World TV Day (21 November). 

EBU Director General Noel Curran said, “Public service media and the UN have similar values - both seek to serve the greater public good and share the same engagement to build a better world, where citizens are better informed.  Challenging fake news, leading the transparent and balanced dissemination of facts, and restoring public trust in democratic institutions are cornerstones of public service media.  The decision to further develop our long and fruitful cooperation with the United Nations Office at Geneva is a timely one that will benefit millions of viewers in the 56 countries where our Members are based.”

“Public service broadcasters play a key role in our societies, promoting democracy, proposing a constructive approach to journalism and helping to fight disinformation," said UNOG Director-General Michael Møller upon signing the Letter of Intent.

"At a time when the UN is multiplying efforts to spread awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals, counter the negative narrative on migration and urge people around the world to stand up for human rights, there are avenues for collaboration between UNOG and the world’s foremost professional association of public service media.” 

UNOG, the main component of the United Nations in Europe, is home to the UN Information Service in Geneva, including its television (UNTV/TV ONU), web news and radio/podcasting (UN News/ONU Info), social media (@UNGeneva) and livestreaming (UN Web TV) operations, and provides communications support to the UN family’s Geneva-based agencies as well as to accredited media organizations operating on its premises. 

Collaboration between the two Geneva-based entities goes back decades and has historically included the provision by UNOG to EBU of live coverage in high-definition of live events taking place on its premises or elsewhere in Switzerland.  In recent years, this has included the provision of some 200 edited international news items per year, distributed via EBU’s Eurovision News Exchange circuits.  Permanent fiber links run between UNOG’s UN Television studio and EBU, facilitating the transport of live signals and feeding of news items.

New areas for collaboration will include EBU’s advisory participation in the development and validation of technical standards for broadcasting.  Other areas of common interest include training, collaboration on live transmission or production of special events, and participation, in the Eurovision Social Media News Wire, a mechanism set up by EBU to identify user-generated “eyewitness news”-type content and clear it for use by public service broadcasters.  UNOG and EBU also plan to jointly lead activities related to quality journalism and constructive news, public service media, and the safety of journalists.

To accompany the Letter of Intent and the celebration of World Television Day 2018, UNOG and EBU have organized, on 21 November at the Palais des Nations, an event titled “Serving the peoples of the world: perspectives on the role of TV and the public interest.” The event will be comprised of three panel discussions addressing issues of trust, diversity and innovation in the audiovisual media.  The full programme is available here.

Contact detail

Dave Goodman
Senior Communications Officer
+41 79 634 9097