Media format : TV, Internet

Frequency : Daily

Geographical distribution area : National

Geographical area : Germany

Subtitle : Mit dem Zweiten sieht man besser - (We see more with the Second)

Website : www.zdf.de

Media language : German

Country : Germany

City : Mainz/Mayence-Lerchenberg

Address : ZDF, 55100 Mainz, Téléphone: +49 (0) 6131-700, Fax: +49 (0) 6131-70-12157

Created : 1er avril 1963

Owner : German state

Status : Independent, non-profit organisation

President-Director General : Thomas Bellut

The ZDF is managed by a government body made up of 77 members : the ZDF Television Board representing the public interest

Some figures…

Turnover : 2 011 billion euros (2013 figure) of which 127 million euros comes from advertising and sponsorships

Audience share : 12.8% (2013 figure)

Personnel : 3 600 permanent and 4 500 independent collaborators (part-time/contract workers, etc.) of which 1 900 equivalent of full-time. Approximately 900 journalists

The ZDF runs permanent offices in the 16 Länder capitals, as well as additional editorial and production offices in Berlin.

Its international coverage is ensured by correspondents operating from 18 permanent foreign offices.

Background :

ZDF is the abbreviation of Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (Second German Television), and is the second largest public general TV channel for federal Germany.

It was created in 1961, began transmission in 1963 and remains one of the main sources of information in Germany.

Today, ZDF also runs three specialist channels, ZDFneo, ZDFinfo and ZDFkultur. In partnership with other public TV-radio broadcasters, it is also associated with the German channels PHOENIX and KI.KA as well as the European channels 3sat and ARTE.

ZDF channels broadcast by satellite, cable, internet and terrestrial antennae.

Like all public TV-radio broadcasters, ZDF is largely financed by a license fee payable by all individual households as well as by private and public companies. The license fee is no longer linked to possession of a TV set. The amount is set by the Länder every five years and is currently 215.76 euros.

Additional income is ensured by advertising which is limited by law to a maximum of 20 minutes per day from Monday to Saturday and is not allowed after 8pm.

ZDF broadcasts a large range of programmes, including news, magazine programmes about politics and current affairs, music, and popular mainstream entertainment programmes like Wetten, dass.? (Do you want to bet?) a Saturday night TV highlight in Europe for the last 30 years.

ZDF is the general German channel broadcasting the greatest number of reports on social subjects, politics and economics, as well as arts and culture. The channel is widely recognised for the quality of its documentaries, cultural and scientific programmes, film productions and variety shows.

Print version

Complete answers

1.1. – Internal Code or charter? : Yes

The ZDF television channel drew up a charter called (Richtlinien für die Sendungen und Telemedienangebote) (Guidelines for televised programmes and audio-visual services) when it was created in 1963 which was updated in 2009.

A number of the many articles available on-line are directly concerned with journalistic output.

ZDF-Leitlinien (Internal code of conduct for inter-personal matters) upholds the values of humanity, liberal democracy, cultural conscience and journalistic freedom

Leitordnung (Code on editorial freedom)

Mitarbeiterkodex (a separate internal code of conduct determining the measures and anti-corruption sanctions that aim to guarantee editorial independence).

The editorial committee within the organisation advocates the setting up of a Redaktionsstatut (editorial statute) to establish firm rules that guarantee complete internal editorial independence. Relationships between editors and their hierarchical superiors are defined, including the right of the latter to intervene.

The ZDF is a member of the European Union for Radio-Television (EUR) and subscribes to their principles.

1.2. – How is their application monitored? : The television council

The internal body that monitors programmes is intended to represent German society in all its diversity. This television council is made up of 77 members and is charged with checking that the guidelines are adhered to. In practice, it issues warnings and reprimands and may go so far as to name the person in question on air.

This body is currently being restructured.

2.1. – Journalist associations inside the media? : An equivalent comity

The Redakteursausschuss (committee of editors) within the channel’s works council is similar to a French journalist association but is more institutional.

2.2. – What mechanisms are there to evaluate already published material? : As follows:

Television news is regularly dissected by editorial after it has been broadcast.

Feedback is also given during the meetings of the ZDF Fernsehrat (television council)

2.3. – Which systems are in place to identify and correct errors? Fact checking? : No specific department but…

There is no specific system but the whole news production chain is monitored in order to avoid mistakes, from the editor to the Editor-in-chief and sometimes, in very sensitive cases, even the legal department.

3.1. – What is the relationship between editorial values and advertising content? : There is no connection

The ZDF has precise guidelines, «  ZDF Richtlinien für Werbung, Sponsoring, Gewinnspiele und Produktionshilfe » to avoid any inconsistencies or potential attacks on the credibility of the programming, news included.

3.2. – What arbitration systems are in place for disputes? : A specific department exists

Since 2004, ZDF has created a department which ensures that no undue influence is exerted on programmes (particularly TV game shows) or on editorial independence (see press release regarding the recent case « stellungnahme-des-zdf-zu-den-spiegel-vorwuerfen » ZDF response to the Spiegel allegations).

In serious litigation cases, the directors’ representatives arbitrate. As a last resort, the Managing Director of the channel intervenes.

3.3. – What is the structure for sponsorships and editorial partnerships? : A reference text exists

The guidelines established by the text, « ZDF-Richtlinien für Werbung,Sponsoring, Gewinnspiele und Produktionshilfe » also cover the channel’s relationship with its partners.

4.1. – How are press trips and embedded journalists managed? : Conditions defined by the charter…

4.2. – How are conflicts of interests with the owner resolved? : Possibility of legal action

ZDF is a company subject to public law, under the responsibility of the sixteen Länder making up the Federal German Republic. TV and radio broadcasting freedom inscribed in the Grundgesetz (constitution) has the value of a public freedom and TV-radio broadcasting organisations can go to court in cases of illegitimate interference by public authorities. Firstly, via basic administrative recourse, then – if necessary – via higher German judicial authorities represented by the Federal Constitutional Tribunal.

4.3. – How are political and economic pressures managed? : Immediate public reaction

When there are attempts to manipulate, for example by the Länder governments, the simple revelation of the facts can be enough to defuse the pressure exerted. This was the case in 2012 when the Bavarian government spokesperson was forced to resign (article in the French newspaper La Croix).

Otherwise, when faced with attempts to influence or exert pressure, the media has a range of protective options from administrative judicial authorities up to the Federal Constitutional Court, fervent protector of public press independence.

4.4. – How is general news or “news in brief” treated? : Very moderately

There is no particular treatment or system in place for these stories.

The channel respects its public service duty and definitely does not place this type of story as the leading news subjects.

4.5. – What criteria are there for the publication of photos/ transmission of filmed images? : Those of the law

4.6. – How are amateur photos or videos treated? : Not used

4.7. – What is the status of permanent or freelance journalist blogs? : Separate status

The internal administrative order of 1 October 2012 concerns the professional usage of social media and stresses, above all, the principle that there must be a strict separation between professional and private use for ZDF staff.

4.8. – What are the conditions for working undercover? : Nothing is officially defined

5.1. – What form of mediation is there with the public? Is there an ombudsman? : No but…

The personalised function of mediator does not exist as such at ZDF. However, a system for formal and informal complaints has been put in place by the Managing Director of ZDF-Fernsehrat (television council) with a detailed regulation procedure.

5.2. – Is there a section for public comments? : Only for complaints

5.3. – How is the ‘right of reply’ managed? : According to the law

Apart from the legal texts, right of reply is covered by the ninth paragraph of the Inter-Länder public treaty for ZDF of 31 August 1991.

5.4. – How are public visits organised? : Yes, open to all the public

5.5. – Are there organised meetings with the public? : No, only interactive programmes

The channel broadcasts interactive programmes such as ZDF log in  and, from time to time, « ZDF log in » et ou plus ponctuellement « Heute journal plus » in which an editions looked at how the editorial department prepared the TV news.

5.6. – Are journalist contact details made public? : No but…

Their email address can easily be ascertained….

5.7. – How are internet forums managed? : Internally with pre-moderation

6.1. – Moving towards green printing? : Not relevant

6.2. – How sustainable are the infrastructure and logistics? : A start has been made

ZDF works in close association with the European Union radio broadcasting body which has launched various actions and campaigns on the subject.

6.3. – Are suppliers selected according to sustainable criteria? : Yes

6.4. – Is there sustainable management of film materials? : Where possible

7.1. – What initiatives are there for developing media literacy? : Yes, there are some

The initiatives undertaken by the channel mainly concern the protecting minors.

7.2. – Is support provided for media in emerging countries? : Regular

ZDF’s involvement with press from developing countries includes giving away programmes and sending material. The channel also develops practical exchanges and partnerships with specialised academic organisations (universities, schools, etc.)

8.1. – What commitments are there for continuous training? : No legal obligation

8.2. – Is there pay transparency?  : For directors

The Managing Director and management team remunerations are available (channel supervisor, for example).

8.3. – Is there an apprenticeship tax? : There is no apprenticeship tax in Germany

9.1. – How is corporate social responsibility applied? : A dedicated department exists for this

ZDF television channel has a corporate social responsibility department.