Public Service Journalism
Strengthening and supporting independent, trusted news
We consider Public Service Journalism to be key to building informed societies in the era of digital noise, disruption, disinformation and political pressures.
News and current affairs are the core and defining content for Public Service Media (PSM). Informing citizens with independent, impartial, accurate and relevant news and helping them to better understand the world in which they live is crucial for a democratic society.
With the increasing challenges of the digital age it is even more important that PSM produces distinctive, quality and ethical journalism as a trustworthy source of information made available to all. PSM must also be an influential voice in the debate on disinformation, encouraging the support for professional journalism and ethical standards and working to develop technical solutions and appropriate international policy frameworks.
To this end, the EBU is providing Members with an amplified voice, through industry partnerships, and indispensable services to sustain and support Public Service Journalism.
The EBU News Report 2018, ‘50 ways to make it better’, published at the 13th News Assembly in Edinburgh in November 2018, highlights practical and concrete solutions and 50 real examples on building engagement and trust in public service journalism.
In several European countries, creeping polarisation has threatened the independence of public service journalism and in some public trust has started to erode. Audiences are on the move and media habits are changing systematically. And more people feel disconnected from news altogether.
“Face the criticism openly and respond but don’t fuel the fire. Be transparent about mistakes, create alliances, communicate your journalistic practices and values, and promote media literacy”, are among the 25 recommendations the authors give, with concrete examples of best practices mostly from Europe.
To find the best solutions the authors first critically examined the challenges with some of the leading experts in the media field and then surveyed over 60 of the senior executives in public service media to get their perspective on workable solutions. During the process, they collected around 150 proposals for solutions for the problems identified from both within public media and outside. Finally, 50 of the best, from 24 countries, were selected and presented in the report together with insights from those involved.
In late 2017, the European Commission set up a High-Level Expert Group (HLEG) on Fake News and Online Disinformation. The EBU was represented by Director General Noel Curran. The Group delivered its report on 12 March 2018.
The European Commission announced they would implement a set of measures, among them an EU-wide Code of Practice and an independent European network of fact-checkers, to combat the spread of disinformation (fake news) online.
However, the Sounding Board of the Multistakeholder Forum on Disinformation – of which the EBU is a member - delivered a damning verdict on the Commission's so-called 'Code of Practice'.
The EBU will continue to provide the EU Institutions and key stakeholders with regular input, information and recommendations by identifying best practices, appropriate policy options and cross-industry initiatives to tackle the problem of disinformation and to help build citizens' trust.
The Journalism Trust Initiative, which the EBU has launched with Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Agence France Press (AFP) and Global Editors Network (GEN), aims to become the benchmark of media self-regulation and good practices by creating a list of trust and transparency standards.
What distinguishes this initiative is that it is using one of the existing authorised mechanisms for developing voluntary standardisation of products/services/processes in Europe - CEN (European Committee for Standardisation).
The project plan for a CEN Workshop on Journalism Trust Indicators was approved at the kick off meeting that took place on 23 May 2018 in Paris. The full project plan is available on the CEN website.
The EBU is chairing the work of the Workshop Agreement on Accountability and Professionalism. Two other workshop agreements focus on Identity and Transparency (CWA I) and Independence and Ethics (CWA II).
The project is estimated to last 14 -18 months.
The EBU's Investigative Journalism Network started as a pilot project in 2017 and has grown rapidly over the past 12 months. It grew from the strong commitment to investigative journalism as a core principle of public service broadcasting.
There are two strands to the network. The first is a set of project groups where reporters from EBU Members work together to research specific topics.
The second strand is a network of investigative reporters. The group now has 26 investigative journalists on stand-by across Europe to respond to tip-offs from their colleagues, putting their own network of contacts at the disposal of other members. The intention is to expand this network, giving the EBU an unparalleled resource to quickly source information on the stories that matter.
In April 2018 the founding members created the EIPN Steering Committee - an expert group reporting to the EBU Executive Board, is composed of the following member organizations ZDF, VRT, NRK, DR, RTE, RTBF, YLE, NPO/Human, BBC and currently chaired by Olle Zachrison, Head of News & Current Affairs at Swedish Radio.
The network is open to all EBU Members, subject to prior approval by the EIPN Steering Committee. Eligible Members must meet the criteria defined by the Steering Committee which includes adhering to the EBU's Core Values of Public Service Media or having demonstrable investigative journalism expertise.
The EBU has also partnered with 5 other media organisations to form the Global Council to Build Trust in Media and Fight Misinformation.
Together with the Ethical Journalism Network, Global Editors Network (GEN), Global Forum for Media Development, Online News Association and the World Editors Forum within the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) the EBU is working to facilitate realistic, practical and workable solutions to build trust in media and fight misinformation.
The Council will be non-political and its first action is to work together on a repository of resources and map initiatives from across the industry to better inform the global journalism community of ongoing efforts regardless of size funding or location. In the next phase, the Council's activities will aim at connecting individuals and organizations with initiatives that they can contribute to and benefit from. This will eliminate overlap and help funding go further.
For more information please visit http://globalmis.info where you can learn more about the mission of the Council, view the proof of concept repository, submit additions and sign-up for updates.