Statement from the Co-CEOs

Our high profile and popularity put us in a unique position – we are both an opinion former and information provider for millions of people. We are aware that with this position comes great responsibility.

This responsibility to our audience and to society as a whole has always been one of our key values, and has undoubtedly been one of the foundations of our success over the years.

Our approach is based on the belief that actions speak louder than words. So this report outlines our Corporate Responsibility views and initiatives, focusing particularly on three areas where we believe we can have the greatest impact:

  • Press freedom: ensuring high editorial standards and journalistic independence are deeply rooted in all of our news organisations. Senior management doesn’t interfere with the independence of our editorial teams. High editorial standards have become even more important in an era where news organisations are sometimes accused of publishing misleading stories and individuals post fake news on social networks.
  • Society: reflecting the diversity of our society, while protecting media users as well as intellectual property rights. We also use our profile to make a difference for disadvantaged members of society. We’re a founding member of the ‘CEO Coalition to make the internet a better place for kids’, a self-regulating initiative launched by the European Commission. And with our German channels we actively support the ‘Alliance to better protect minors online’. Both initiatives aim to address the risks minors face online, such as harmful content, conduct, and contacts.
  • Employees: ensuring our employees receive fair recognition, treatment and working conditions, alongside opportunities for career development. It’s also important we recruit people from a wide variety of backgrounds, including independent thinkers and go-getters – people who are passionate about their ideas. We strive to treat all employees fairly and to engage in constructive dialogue with employee representatives, particularly in the rare instances we’re considering staff reductions. 

All three of these themes confirm that diversity is at the very heart of RTL Group. This is explicitly expressed in our new mission statement which says: “We embrace independence and diversity in our people, our content and our businesses.” In 2016, we published a Diversity Statement expanding on these points, and set ourselves the clear objective of getting more women into management positions. We will aim for specific targets for the percentage of women in top and senior positions for 2020 and 2025.

Other noteworthy CR achievements in 2016 include our new Business Partner Principles, which define our expectations for our business partners to operate responsibly, and the further expansion of our subtitling for hearing-impaired viewers across our German TV operations.

We hope you enjoy reading about these and our many other initiatives.

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