The multimedia actions were launched with the aim of engaging EU citizens in policy-making processes. The multimedia actions provide citizens with information about European topics beyond local and national angles, thus reinforcing Europe's democratic principles. Media financed under this heading retain full editorial independence. Actions are sanctioned by an editorial charter of independence included in all contracts and grants.
4 actions funded under this line are:
- the TV channel Euronews NBC
- the radio network Euranet Plus
- data-driven news production
- multilingual content across European platforms
Euronews is an independent news TV channel producing information in 12 languages. This includes 8 official EU languages: English, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. Public-service broadcasters launched the channel in 1993.
Over the years, the European Commission and Euronews have signed multiple successive Framework Partnership Agreements (FPAs). The last FPA expired in February 2021 and a new one is under preparation. Partnerships are implemented through specific, annual grant agreements for the production and distribution of EU programmes and individual language versions.
The European Commission currently funds the production and broadcast of European programmes and several language services, such as Euronews in Hungarian, Greek, Portuguese and Arabic. The EU also supports production and broadcast of the Farsi service and many magazines through other budget lines.
External preliminary audits and evaluations are regularly conducted to assess the cost structures of the contracts. They provide a qualitative assessment of the performance of the different actions funded under the scheme.
The 2021 Financing Decision on multimedia actions earmarks €16 million to support the production and broadcasting of programmes on EU affairs by Euronews. These programmes should be multilingual.
Radio network Euranet Plus
The Commission supports the coverage of EU affairs in radio programmes across Europe. A specific grant agreement was signed with Euranet Plus in August 2019 for a duration of 28 months, with a value of €2.16 million per year. It aims to strengthen reporting on EU affairs and reach at least 2 million listeners per week. Under this agreement, each of the radios that are part of the Euranet Plus network has to produce and broadcast at least 25 minutes per week.
Radio stations which are part of this programme produce reports, talk shows and interviews to address and explain EU affairs to their listeners, and to compare viewpoints across Europe.
Euranet Plus currently gathers 13 radios from 13 Member States. By December 2021, at least 25 other radios should be included as re-broadcaster. The network has a central office in Brussels to help radio stations in their journalistic work and to exchange best practices.
External evaluations were conducted in 2012 and 2016 to assess the performance of previous agreements with Euranet (Plus). The 2021 Financing Decision on multimedia actions foresees €2.2 million to continue supporting radio network activities, in the form of an open call for proposals.
Data-driven news production
Following an open call for proposals in 2020, the Commission is currently supporting two media consortia covering EU affairs through data-driven techniques. The projects, European Data News Hub and European Data Journalism Network (EDJNet), will last 2 years and run until 2023. The total amount of EU co-financing is up to EUR 700.000 per project.
Multilingual content across European platforms
In 2020, following an open call for proposals, a consortium formed by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and the TV broadcaster ARTE was awarded an EU grant to support the curation and circulation of multilingual audiovisual content across European platforms.
The project should enable its partners to transcend language barriers and offer their audiences trusted news from across Europe. It will last 15 months and will receive €1.7 million.