PRESS RELEASE published on 27 Jan 2021

10 public service broadcasters join EBU initiative to give audiences access to trusted news from across Europe

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has unveiled a pioneering online initiative that will enable public service media to transcend language barriers and offer their audiences trusted news content produced by counterparts from across Europe.

This multilingual content will provide a pan-European perspective on issues of key interest to national audiences such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and migration. It will also act as an effective counterbalance to disinformation and divisive rhetoric propagated via social media platforms.

Under the new initiative, participating broadcasters will contribute high-quality news content to a digital hub where it will be automatically translated into multiple languages using innovative new tools and workflows. Editors will then select the items that are most relevant to their audiences and publish them through a recommendation box featured on their website. 

Following a successful pilot phase which saw 14 broadcasters share more than 120,000 articles over a period of eight months, the project has been awarded an EU grant which will enable the technical tools to be fully developed and the editorial collaboration between newsrooms to be strengthened.

The recommendation box is slated for launch in July 2021 and will be hosted by public service media from Belgium (RTBF), Finland (YLE), France (France Télévisions), Germany (BR-ARD), Ireland (RTÉ), Italy (RAI), Portugal (RTP), Spain (RTVE) and Switzerland (SWI swissinfo.ch) as well as the Franco-German and European broadcaster, ARTE.

It is anticipated that more broadcasters will sign up to the service as the initiative gains momentum, adding new languages to the overall content offer.

Digital collaboration in news sharing is the next significant step for media innovation in Europe. Collectively, public service media comprise Europe’s largest newsroom spending €5.5 billion a year and employing over 40,000 journalists to deliver accurate news content through trusted digital platforms.

The EBU-led initiative will tap into these vast resources and unlock their potential to contribute to a European public sphere based on common values and shared interests.

Noel Curran, Director General of the EBU, commented, “Trustworthy, fact-based news and information are even more important at a time when disinformation and populism are threatening democracies. It is exciting that we will work with cutting-edge technology to open up this wealth of high-quality content to our audiences, breaking geographic and language barriers. This initiative will revolutionise news sharing in Europe.”

EBU President Delphine Ernotte Cunci said, “Building on decades of fruitful cooperation around news sharing, this is the perfect time for the EBU to forge a bold new alliance based on the association of the exceptional news expertise within our union and the availability of exciting digital tools.

“The current context of converging public health, climate and social crises has demonstrated the increasing need for trusted, evidence-based reporting. This strategic digital project will allow each of our national audiences to have access to a pan-European window on our shared common experience, and permit greater political accountability and cross-checking across borders."

Notes to Editors: 

  1. The stories selected for publication via the recommendation box are copyright-cleared for use in the initiative. 
  2. Participating Members have full editorial control over the stories they share with other Members as well as the stories they choose to recommend/publish to their own audiences.
  3. The EU funding has been awarded by the Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CNECT) as part of a project entitled “Towards a European Public Sphere: Multilingual Programmes from across Europe”. In addition to the EBU’s recommendation box, the funding provides support to the European Collection, a curated selection of documentaries, magazine shows and reports on current issues in European politics and society. The European Collection is coordinated by ARTE and draws on programmes produced by France Télévisions, Switzerland’s SRG SSR, and Germany’s ARD & ZDF. The common selection is made available in five languages throughout Europe on the partners’ digital platforms.