To celebrate World Press Day, IBC365 rounds up features on freedom of the press, contingency broadcasting and dangers of front-line reporting as broadcasters look to mitigate fake news and misinformation. 


World Press Day: News broadcasting in 2020

A free and trusted press is one that should never be taken for granted. During the current global pandemic, audiences around the world are looking for reliable and accurate news sources.

Some 67% of worldwide audiences have said to be watching more news coverage since lockdown than before, according to findings from Statista, with 45% of audiences watching more TV on broadcast linear channels.

The global survey, which was conducted in March, found that coronavirus has had a direct impact on in-home media consumption around the world.

The pandemic may have brought about a new wave of news consumption but it too has caused a significant impact of the industry with the BBC delaying changes to its TV licence fee. The EBU has been forced to cancel the Eurovision 2020 song contest and film and TV productions from India to Hollywood have been postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic. During lockdown, the entire broadcasting, media and entertainment industry has been shuttered.

Since 1993, The United Nations (UN) General Assembly declared 3 May to be World Press Freedom Day to observe and raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and to remind governments to uphold a dutiful and truthful outlet.

This year’s theme is ‘Journalism without Fear or Favour.’

In what has become an “increasingly complex media landscape” today and the week ahead aim to celebrate and cement the fundamental principles of press freedom, assess the state of free press throughout the world and defend the media from attacks on their independence.

IBC365 has curated this week’s playlist to look at news broadcasting, journalists working remotely during lockdown, the challenges of frontline reporting, and how Euronews has transformed its operation.

Democratising solidarity for freedom of the press

The future of freedom of speech is heavily dependent on the power of public service broadcasters, and despite the rise of OTT platforms, freelance documentary filmmakers agree press freedom requires solidarity.

Rodrigo Vazquez with solider

Rory Peck award finalist Rodrigo Vazquez

Last year IBC365 sat down with the finalists of the 2019 Rory Peck Sony Impact Awards, to discuss the challenges to freedom of the press with the rise of digital media, the power of independent films to drive topical agendas including diversity and social discrimination.

Empowering and inspiring change through informative and critical filmmaking is the central motive for freelance documentary filmmakers who produce some of the most powerful news gathering and investigative journalism required for a democratic society.

A topic less discussed in everyday rhetoric is the danger of a society where the public doubt what they see in the news. While freelance filmmakers are faced with working in dangerous environments and direct threats to personal safety, they need a level of technical expertise to master different formats as well as a passion and knowledge for the subject.

Reporting live: Contingency broadcasting

From capturing to distributing news, global broadcasters are faced with significant challenges during the coronavirus pandemic. The agility of live news productions from the EBU, Euronews, BBC, ITV News and RTÉ is investigated.

The coronavirus crisis has rapidly disrupted societies and economies around the world with businesses shutting down or even declaring bankruptcy, events being forced to postpone or cancel. Meanwhile, broadcasters are working overtime to bring the public timely, relevant and important news.

Journalism is a critical element to a functioning democratic society, but what happens to public service media (PSM) and other organisations when governments have to introduce rules on social distancing and disrupt working life as we know it?

Remote working delivering news during lockdown

A news anchor, a post production director and two broadcast support teams take a deep dive into their remote working practices in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Channel 4 Krishna remote news

Channel 4’s Krishnan Guru-Murthy producing and broadcasting remotely from home

The social distancing measures required during the Covid-19 pandemic now mean that the majority of broadcast staff in many countries are now working from home.

While there have been some frustrations, it’s clear there have also been many more innovations - with some tech bosses admitting that the pandemic has made them reassess their workflows moving forward.

With news playing an important social role during the crisis, broadcasters have taken to setting up remote and home-based solutions to keep news services running.

Niche broadcasting: Celtic language collaboration

Collaboration between Celtic broadcasters combined with a slew of new funding pots has led to a new wave of high-quality indigenous language content with international ambition.

Minority language broadcasters face many of the same challenges as legacy media players in terms of how to punch above their weight with quality content in an era of dwindling budgets and deep-pocketed digital rivals.

“We’re relatively underfunded,” points out Iseabail Mactaggart, director of multiplatform content for BBC Alba, a service targeting Scotland’s 60,000 Gaelic speakers. “This makes it a challenge for us to offer a full public service as rich as we would desire.”

All three major indigenous Celtic language channels - Ireland’s TG4, Scotland’s BBC Alba and Wales’ S4C reported budget decreases last year – making it tougher than ever to deliver content that matches their audiences’ ever-increasing expectations.

Dangers of front-line reporting

Is this the most dangerous time to be a journalist? Industry figures spoke to IBC365 on reporting in a conflict zone, facing threats and the fake news phenomenon.

Major threats to the media and freedom of expression particularly in conflict zones has become a prominent issue in society.

The lines are blurred and the threats are more insidious explained CNN International senior vice president of international newsgathering TV and Digital, Deborah Rayner during IBC2017 conference session.

She said it is now more dangerous than ever to be a journalist.

CNN International Executive Vice President and Managing Director Tony Maddox told IBC365: “In terms of physical safety, it is true to say that reporting from conflict zones has never been more dangerous.

“The rules of engagement are less clearly defined, it is harder to know who is fighting with whom, and certain groups realise the potential propaganda value of either capturing or even killing a journalist.”

Euronews: The transformation of news

Transforming linear and enhancing its digital operations, Euronews boss Michael Peters is looking to reach audiences beyond Europe.

#TheCube presenter Alex Morgan PNG

Euronews: #TheCube presenter Alex Morgan

As the gatekeeper of Euronews, Michael Peters - chief executive of the Euronews Group - works to ensure all aspects of the pay-television news networked is linked to the governance and values the organisation was founded on.

“Empowering people, independence, impartiality, our European DNA and our promise to welcome all views and all voices,” is Peters’ core focus. However, with the technological changes diversifying content distribution, the shifting political climate and audience distribution and acquisition is a driver for content owners.

Peters tells IBC365: “There is no typical working day in the life of a CEO.”