Corona virus: AUB and RAI call for responsible reporting while taking steps to stay safe
During a situation that keeps changing day after day, hour after hour and has to reflect the various decisions issued by Governments and Health Professionals to combat corona virus, journalists are highly encouraged to take on responsible reporting while taking steps to stay safe. Within the framework of the partnership between the African Union of Broadcasting (AUB) and RAI- Italia, the Union is strongly urging her Member Organizations to adopt the following emergency measures drafted by RAI at the very beginning of Covid19 outbreak in Italy.
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We created a taskforce able to manage the company’s complexity, composed of:
- The Director General,
- The Head of Legal Affairs,
- The Head of Personnel,
- The Head of the Company’s Healthcare,
- The Head of Safety and Security,
- The Head of Communications,
- The Head of Production,
- a Representative of the Channels,
- The Head of Properties and
- Two Representatives of the News Departments (a National representative and a local one).
The taskforce works under the direct supervision of the President and the Chief Executive Officer.
In the course of these difficult weeks the taskforce has taken the following decisions:
Only business trips of journalists working for news channels have been authorized in order to give priority to information; journalists working and reporting for different channels and programmes from the areas where the epidemic had been spreading have been urged to return as soon as possible;
Journalists returning from “red areas” were forbidden to enter RAI’s offices (they were obliged to observe a period of quarantine);
Since the very beginning of the outbreak, any other person different from employees entering RAI’s offices, has been required to fill in a form stating he/she has not been in any “red area”. Immediately after it has been prohibited to anyone who was not an employee to enter the company’s venues;
Guests of TV programmes can access TV studios pertaining to their own residence city only (i.e. a guest living in Rome can access the TV studios in Rome while a guest living in Milan can only enter the Milan studios). Any other guest has been managed through video connections using live streaming backpacks and Skype;
Since the very beginning, spectators have not been allowed to enter TV studios, meaning that programmes have been recorded with empty seats;
Some entertainment shows have been replaced by news in order to prioritize information and updates;
Changes to the broadcasting schedule, aimed at giving priority to information, have been made, including a reduction of light entertainment programmes in order to attract a larger audience staying at home. Moreover, there has been an optimization of news editions, reducing short editions and instead strengthening the main ones. News spaces have been created for across-channels distribution.
Smart working has been promptly set up, involving 3,000 employees in a few days;
A rotation within production and journalists teams has been foreseen in order to ensure programme continuity in the event of contagion and the consequent quarantine of a wide number of collaborators. RAI is also in the process of identifying a list of “reserve” workers to draw from;
Emergency plans have been envisaged to facilitate transmissions from different locations both in Rome and, where needed, in Milan;
Specific kids and educational programmes have been produced for both cultural channels and the streaming platform in order to face the closure of schools and universities;
Thousands of masks have been bought and distributed, firstly for workers working at less than a one meter distance from colleagues and then to anybody else.
RAI has 4TV production centers and 17 regional headquarters;
Frequent sanitation of the working locations has been carried out;
In RAI’s canteens and cafés, measures for employees to keep one meter distance were immediately put in place; but further to the last decree closure of company cafés was ordered and security checks in the canteen took place (foreseeing, moreover, controlled flows of people) to monitor the respect of the provisions relevant to the respect of distances;
Four different company e-mail accounts were immediately activated for employees to address their questions and receive any kind of information;
RAI’s intranet platform keeps providing updates about the new norms, the legal provisions involving employees and operative instructions to be followed.
In RAI’s headquarters in Rome, at present, just a few employees have remained; the main entrance has been closed with the subsequent reduction of housekeeping and surveillance services.