Journalists in Germany are in a privileged situation: here, freedom of expression is a fundamentally respected and protected value. And yet even in Germany, journalism encounters resistance on a daily basis. Read more about what form this takes and how our colleagues handle it.
Diverse and Controversial Content
"We observe editorial and journalistic independence in news gathering and distribution."
Bertelsmann Code of Conduct, Paragraph 2.3.1
Viewer ratings, circulation and range. For Bertelsmann and its businesses, these are the key indicators of our success. Behind them are a wide variety of entertainment and information offerings. To ensure that customers not only get to choose from this diversity, but can also form their own opinion regarding controversial issues, Bertelsmann applies the "Editor-in-Chief Principle."
This principle ensures that our program managers in broadcast, online and print media are able to work autonomously, independent from corporate bodies and financial ownership, in evaluating and making their content, production and distribution decisions.
By applying this principle, we put an important pillar of our corporate culture of partnership into action by delegating responsibility, and secure the editorial freedom of our media content.
Our products reflect a broad spectrum of attitudes and opinions. This sign of quality corresponds to the versatility of our customers and thus also benefits our own business. At the same time, it means that Bertelsmann contributes to a diverse media landscape and to democratic diversity of opinion in our society.
Press Freedom – Fast Read
What do we mean?
We believe press freedom has two aspects: Internally, it means that our Management does not interfere with editorial decision-making or the independence of our editorial personnel. Externally, we do not succumb to political or economic influence in our journalistic coverage. We comply with existing laws, regulations and corporate policies regarding the separation of editorial content and commercial advertising.
Why is it important?
What's in it for us?
What are the opportunities and challenges?
How are we taking action?
Bertelsmann guarantees in-house press freedom with its “editor-in-chief principle,” under which editorial decisions are made solely by our program managers, free from influence from the Group’s owners or management. Many companies and editors have also implemented further statutes for safeguarding journalistic independence in the day-to-day business. They focus primarily on duty of care, respect for individual rights, dealing with representations of violence, and the protection of minors. These topics are also part of our editorial teams’ education and training.
The German members of the Bertelsmann working Group on Press Freedom met in Cologne. Current issues regarding the editorial and journalistic independence of Bertelsmann were the focus of the exchange.