Less news about the covid and a public cultural channel: European television prepares for the second year of the pandemic

The Belgian French-speaking radio television claims to have been receiving, in recent months, messages in which its viewers and listeners criticize the excessive coverage that its newscasts dedicate to the health crisis. So the editorial staff of Radio Télévision Belge Francophone has decided to take action. Last week they promised on their website to limit information about the covid to no more than half the total duration of their newscasts. “We are trying to do two or three topics a day about the virus. But sometimes the news overtakes us « , justifies Xavier Mouligneau, editor of television news. The same happens with radio bulletins, shorter than television ones: once the news about the health crisis is covered, there is little space left for other topics.

The review of the space dedicated to the health crisis will not only affect the news, but also the social gatherings. In the article, they include a practical example: last Monday, January 4, the day before the start of the vaccination campaign in Belgium, the news dedicated to covid-19 and its consequences on its television news program at 7.30 pm was around 20 minutes out of 35 total. The radio newscast had little more than 5 minutes focused on the 15-minute pandemic. Local and regional stations are more easily able to meet this quota thanks to the greater presence of proximity information.

A September 2020 survey by the Viavoice Institute on the treatment of the health crisis in the media showed that 60% of French people considered that the media devotes too much space to the pandemic. 50% of those surveyed said that this coverage causes them more anxiety and 43% blame the media for fueling fear in society.

Meanwhile, the French public group France Télévisions has decided to launch a channel dedicated to culture and live shows to try to compensate, in part, for the stoppage that has led to the closure of cultural spaces in France, closed since October. The Culturebox channel will be launched in February and will remain on the air during the closing of theaters in France. It will be a free channel that will broadcast concerts, theatrical productions, dance and old festivals, as well as new shows and encounters with artists. “Nothing can replace the experience and emotion of attending an artist or group performance in a room. While waiting to rediscover that joy, such a diverse offer will help to make you want to go see them as soon as possible, ”the Minister of Culture, Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin, said in a statement at the launch.