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 reach. For Bertelsmann and its businesses, these are key indicators of our success. Behind them lies a vast and multifaced 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 hallmark 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.We are aware of and treat with care the responsibility that we, as opinion makers, have toward the public. Everyone involved in the process of producing our media has a journalistic and ethical obligation.
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.
Working Group on Press Freedom
In 2015, Bertelsmann established set up its Group-wide working group on press freedom. Since then, representatives from different divisions have met at regular intervals to discuss current issues of editorial and journalistic independence and to exchange information, ideas and best practices.
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.
The German members of the Bertelsmann working Group on Press Freedom met in Hamburg. Current issues regarding the editorial and journalistic independence of Bertelsmann were the focus of the exchange.