Professional, Diverse, Customer-Oriented – The Qualities of Our Media and Services
We want our media and services to fascinate and provide a real added value to our customers and users. We rely on professionalism in the production and distribution of our products, but also focus on our customers in order to meet the diverse expectations and interests of our readers, viewers and listeners. First-class and above all diverse content and formats are the result – from entertainment formats to high-quality news and information formats on radio and TV, online and in print. This comes with a responsibility to consider the impact of the content produced and disseminated, while ensuring the best possible protection for the rights and interests of media users.
Wherever we operate in the world, we comply with standards of press law, such as journalistic diligence, the separation of editorial content and advertising, and the protection of minors. The editorial staff at our individual business units and companies also makes additional commitments beyond this.
Within RTL Group, for example, besides complying with local laws and voluntary commitments, the editors’ work is informed by the RTL Group Newsroom Guidelines. These were updated in May 2017 in the areas of personal rights and responsible use of sources – especially in the social media – as well as the clear separation of advertising and editorial content. This update is also a response to the issue of misinformation, or “fake news.” To prevent such content from being disseminated, Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland had set up an internal team of experts at the end of 2016 to verify user-generated content. It has now been extended to all of RTL Group.
In Germany, the RTL Media Advisory Council ('Medienbeirat'), a voluntary advisory board composed of leaders from the political, cultural, business and religious communities, provides guidance and support for the management. Gruner + Jahr brings its principles of quality journalism to life through activities such as journalism education and training, and by being a signatory to the European Charter for Freedom of the Press.
Protection of Minors
As a media provider, it goes without saying that we comply with laws and guidelines such as broadcasting time restrictions for children and minors, or product labeling. Beyond this, Bertelsmann is also actively involved in initiatives aimed at making media use safer. For instance, RTL Group is a founding member of the EU initiative “CEO Coalition to make the Internet a better place for kids,” which develops specific recommendations for using digital media. These efforts are continued in the Alliance to Better Protect Minors Online, founded in 2017, in which the German TV channels RTL Television and Super RTL are participating. The EU initiative klicksafe.de, which is also supported by Super RTL, raises public awareness of safe internet use with practical offers and materials.
But passive protection isn’t the only priority – children also need to learn to navigate the Net actively and competently. Which is why RTL supports fragFINN.de – an online search engine that allows children between the ages of 8 and 12 to research topics that interest them within a secure environment of regularly updated, child-oriented websites – and has been doing so for ten years. Penguin Random House Publishing House DK offers a similar platform with “DKfindout!” Bertelsmann and its divisions also support many other initiatives to promote media literacy .
Bringing up Important Topics
With our diverse content and publication formats, we regularly pick up on topics from our social and ecological areas of responsibility and stimulate public discussion about them. The content published by Penguin Random House regularly and extensively addresses issues such as poverty, world hunger and climate change. The Gruner+Jahr magazine GEO has rung out a Biodiversity Day every year since 1999, to raise people's awareness of biodiversity on our doorstep.
Gruner+Jahr CEO Julia Jäkel initiated one new debate: She called for a discussion on the handling of advertising money, and the responsibility for press freedom and independent journalism it entails. Julia Jäkel advocates that companies should wield their advertising budgets responsibly and preferably use them to support media that do extensive research and ensure transparency and diversity of opinion. By talking about “Corporate Media Responsibility,” she is shaping an important discourse in an age of rampant false information.
The Alliance to Better Protect Minors Online, a multi-stakeholder initiative to tackle harmful content, met in Brussels in March 2018 to discuss current and future projects.
In times of fake news, RTL Group is relying on the creativity of its employees to counter increasing disinformation online and strengthen the media literacy of young news consumers.