Public Service Journalism
Strengthening and supporting independent, trusted news
Public service journalism, through its commitment to independent, impartial, accurate and relevant news, is key to building informed societies and strong democracies in an era of digital noise, disruption, disinformation and political pressures.
News and current affairs are the core and defining content for public service media (PSM). 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 citizens. PSM must also be an influential voice in the debate on media freedom and disinformation, encouraging support for professional journalism and ethical standards, and working to develop technical solutions and appropriate international policy frameworks.
Today, media freedom is under threat. Attacks on journalists are on the rise. We’re increasingly seeing evidence of online threats, harassment and actual physical violence. In 2022 our focus will be to highlight the extent of these threats to the safety of our journalists and, by extension, the risks they pose to media freedoms and democratic societies. By harnessing the expertise and support of our extensive membership and our partners in the European institutions, we will demonstrate why blatant disregard for journalist safety affects us all.
You can join our call for change by supporting our stance on this issue – follow us on social media and like and share our posts, using the hashtag #OurJournalistsOurFreedom.
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Defending media freedom and pluralism is at the heart of what the EBU stands for. And the need for robust defence is critical.
We are dedicated to securing and improving the safety and protection of journalists and we tackle this complex issue from a number of different angles. Find more about our advocacy efforts on our Media Freedom and Pluralism policy page.
Journalism safety is central to a new task force established by the EBU News Committee. Its goal is to improve safety on the ground, online and within newsrooms, and is recommending a range of actions including a series of ‘how to act’ videos in the event of cases of harassment, expert guides on procedures for reporting incidents and help and support through access to professionals, including lawyers, counsellors and IT experts. The task force is led by RTVE’s Asun Gomez Bueno.
This work is supported by the EBU News Management and the work of Liz Corbin, Head of News and Deputy Media Director.
Our EBU Academy offers security and safety training for journalists. Our safety and security training is renowned throughout Europe and since 2004 has benefited over 750 journalists.
The Academy also coordinates a network of security officers, where vital information on risk assessment is exchanged on a permanent and informal basis. Additionally, we help broadcasters improve their staff security and legal protection.
Search for all upcoming safety and security training programmes and workshops open to both EBU Members and other media outlets.
Our Eurovision News team is part of the News Safety Institute Board of Directors. Furthermore, we sit beside some of our members on the International News Safety Institute (INSI) Board of Directors. INSI has in recent years launched training initiatives as well as others addressing online bullying and advisories regarding safety in numerous locations.
The EBU supports all institutions and NGOs dealing with the protection of journalists at a global level. Our Legal and Policy team also raise these concerns at the EU level. We contributed to the decision-making process on the issues of online violence targeting women journalists and media professionals and the safety of journalists in the European Union.
We are one of the partner organizations of the Council of Europe's platform for the Protection of Journalism and the Safety of Journalists, where it provides a special contribution to denounce threats and attacks against public service broadcasters.
We participate in UNESCO’s action plans and initiatives dedicated to the topic, like the UN Inter-Agency on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, and cooperate with other organizations such as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the United Nations Office in Geneva.
We also support all initiatives aimed at reinforcing the safety of journalists within multilateral fora, such as the International Federation of Journalists’ proposal for an international Treaty and the Reporter Without Borders’ proposal for a special UN representative.
Together public service media make up Europe’s largest newsroom. We want to share the most valuable journalism with audiences across Europe, breaking language barriers. By joining forces of 40,000 journalists working for PSM, we have the power to bring diverse stories to all citizens. That is why we have created the News Hub of PSM content which hosts two powerful tools – A European Perspective to benefit PSM audiences and NewsDeck designed for journalists
The core of “A European Perspective” project is harnessing the scale and power of EBU Members to bring online audiences the best journalism in their language. Together, we’re throwing light on the issues affecting all Europeans. Its foundation lies in using AI and data-driven technologies in a transparent way to optimize editorial perspectives. Editorial and technology collaboration are at its core. We are putting our own journalism into perspective by seeing how those issues are reported elsewhere.
A European Perspective is embedded directly into Member’s own websites. Through it we’re building a culture of mutual understanding. Helping to inform the public by guiding them to news they can trust and ultimately hoping to build a better future. A European Perspective is co-funded by the European Commission and it went public on 1 July 2021.
Eurovision News Monitoring Tool launched in February 2021 is designed to provide real-time insight into the diverse range of online news from across Europe’s PSM newsrooms.
Currently, the tool collects an average of 2.000 news items (text and video) daily. These are all machine-translated into English thanks to the EuroVOX software. Other languages are available on request.
Its new interface NewsDeck has been optimized so that editors can find precisely what they are looking for, and a new look makes it easier to share and follow in real-time topics of interest. The tool is open to all the EBU Members. The more organizations join the project, the more powerful this news intelligence tool becomes.
The EBU is a supporting partner of the Journalism Trust Initiative (JTI) which is based on an official standard aimed at empowering trustworthy journalism. Media outlets of any size, type and from anywhere in the world use the JTI to assess their compliance, including ownership transparency and due editorial processes, like correction policies. By making the results of this exercise visible, newsrooms can reinforce their credibility and sustainability.
As a benchmark, the JTI drives excellence and accountability of media outlets toward the communities they serve, regulators, and the private sector including digital platforms. As a machine-readable trustworthiness indicator, the JTI contributes to elevated findability in search and social media, reinforcing trust from the general public and eventually a healthier information space.
The JTI journey has three stages: 1) Check: perform the internal self-assessment via the jti:app, a dedicated online portal, and address potential findings; 2) Show: publish the result in the form of a publicly visible transparency report; and 3) Glow: an optional external audit that results in JTI Certification. Currently 100+ media outlets are implementing this instrument through the different stages, including EBU Members such as RTÉ News (Transparency Report), SWI swissinfo.ch (Certification) and France Télévisions (Certification), as well as affiliated CBC/Radio-Canada.
The JTI was initiated by the press freedom watchdog and human rights NGO, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), and developed by a group of 130 experts representing the media industry, academia, regulatory and self-regulatory bodies, tech companies and the media development sector. The JTI Standard was published by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) in December 2019 (CEN Workshop Agreement no. CWA17493:2019 here).
The Initiative is co-funded by the European Commission and Craig Newmark Philanthropies.
The EBU's Investigative Journalism Network started in 2017 and has quickly grown to include more than 100 reporters from organizations across the EBU membership.
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 that have an impact across European borders. Here journalists pitch stories that can benefit from the collaborative power of multiple EBU Member organizations.
The second strand is a network of investigative reporters on stand-by across Europe ready to respond to tip-offs from their colleagues. This provides Members with a large network of contacts - an unparalleled resource to quickly source information on the stories that matter.
Working with our EBU Academy, we also offer training on best practice and specific news topics for investigative journalists.
The network is open to all EBU Members, subject to prior approval by the EBU Investigative Projects and Network 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 and having demonstrable investigative journalism expertise.
More information on the Investigative Journalism Network group page.
Disinformation is spreading at an unprecedented rate. Online platforms play a critical and arbitrary role in who sees what content (real or fake). Beyond fighting disinformation, we stand for the protection of media freedom online. People have the right to read legitimate news sources, without an added filter.
In Brussels, the EU is stepping forward to wrangle control of online content, among other priorities, away from these private companies. We contribute to the shaping of EU legislation, like the Digital Markets Act and Digital Services Act, to redress the influence that online platforms have on access to content, spread of information and opinion-making.
See our latest activities here
As the EBU, we see the wide-ranging threats that journalists face. These attacks range from physical violence, to intimidation, to online abuse, to nuisance lawsuits and beyond. Journalists need to feel safe to do their jobs for a free and pluralistic media sector.
To call bad actors to account, we have been supporting the Council of Europe’s Safety of Journalists Platform. Through this work, governments are held accountable for threats to journalists that take place in their jurisdictions. The work of the Platform contributes to putting into practice the Council of Europe’s Recommendation on the protection of journalism and safety of journalists and other media actors from 2016.
With observer status, the EBU contributes actively to the standard-setting work of the Steering Committee on Media and Information Society (CDMSI) and its subordinate bodies, like the Committee on strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs) which is preparing a Recommendation.
With UNESCO, we support World Press Freedom Day, offering our expertise from the world of public service media. This sends a strong message to governments that they must respect media freedom.
We also promote activities around the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. We contribute to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) /UNESCO project, the Global Drive for Media Freedom and Safety of Journalists programme.
We regularly exchange on relevant developments with the office of the OSCE’s Representative on Freedom of the Media.