Editorial independence

RTL Group runs TV channels, radio stations and news websites in many European markets. Our Group is built on the recognition that success in Europe, with its multitude of different languages, cultures and media regulations, can only come through having a strong local presence, run by local management.

Our independence means we can share news and information without compromising our strong journalistic principles and balance. Our local CEOs act as publishers, and don’t interfere with our production of content. Each local editor-in-chief is responsible for following local guidelines and applying rigorous ethical standards. This ensures diversity of opinion through journalistic freedom, aiming to reflect society’s diversity and democracy.

This principle is seen in action across the company, and is stated explicitly in our Code of Conduct, Mission Statement and Newsroom Guidelines.

 

Responsible reporting

Our news organisations conduct investigative journalism to shine a light on human rights violations and other abuse. For example, M6’s award-winning programme, Enquête Exclusive, investigates stories in some of the world’s most dangerous places: from religious radicalism in Yemen, to gang culture in Honduras. Antonia Rados, Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent of Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland, reports from volatile regions such as North Africa and the Middle East, to provide viewers with a close-up look at the impact of war and violence, and the causes of the refugee crisis. RTL Television’s Team Wallraff – Reporter Undercover, conducts extensive research to uncover human rights abuses, corruption and other illegal activity. Similarly, Reporters, an investigative series produced by RTL-TVI in Belgium, uncovers a number of human rights violations.

Image description: Michaël Miraglia presents RTL-TVI’s weekly Reporters magazine always factual, clear and comprehensive © RTL TVI / Jean-Michel Clajot

Responsible education

The RTL School of Journalism for TV and Multimedia in Germany, established in 2000, is a respected, accredited training centre, whose mission is to prepare students for the fast-moving, highly competitive world of television journalism. The curriculum at the school’s state-of-the-art facilities encompasses the studies of practical training in online journalism, video for digital platforms, investigative research, and ethics. Its graduates move on to work for Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland, as well as other broadcasters, TV production and media companies.

Image description: Practical training prepares students of the RTL School of Journalism for TV and Multimedia for the world of TV journalism © RTL Journalistenschule

Newsroom Guidelines

RTL Group has issued Newsroom Guidelines to provide a framework for action, both for our daily work, and for the more challenging cases our editorial staff encounter regularly. This is underpinned by our adherence to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which guarantees the freedom of expression and information.

Our Newsroom Guidelines define the journalistic principles of all our news organisations:

  • We are fair and impartial

  • We act responsibly with regard to personal rights

  • We are cautious when showing violence and victims

  • We handle the personal rights of minors with sensitivity

  • We report truthfully and don’t stage reality

  • We are cautious and critical with third-party messaging

Working groups

RTL Group has a number of Synergy Committees (SyCos) set up to foster sharing of knowledge and to encourage the replication of successes across the Group’s decentralised organisation. These committees – which consist of executives and experts from each business unit and the Corporate Centre – meet regularly to discuss topics such as programming, news, radio, advertising sales and new media, as well as the CR aspects of these topics. The RTL Group News Synergy Committee is a working group covering all news topics, including editorial independence and press freedom.

Bertelsmann has had a working group on press freedom since 2015. Chaired by RTL Group’s Executive Vice President for Corporate Communications & Marketing, this group consists of representatives from other Bertelsmann divisions and discusses current issues relating to editorial and journalistic independence, e.g. content verification. The group regularly invites guest speakers to present and examine specific examples from everyday practice in journalism.

  • Bert Habets, RTL Group Co-CEO, on press freedom

    In a video statement, Bert Habets, RTL Group Co-CEO, highlighted the importance of press freedom for RTL Group

  • RTL Group UGC verification team

    Learn more about the user-generated content (UGC) verification team of RTL Group

  • At RTL Group, we care!

    Watch the new RTL Group Corporate Responsibility trailer which gives you an insight into our focus topics of Editorial Independence, Society and Employees. Because actions speak louder than words. #RTLCares


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