Mediaset prohibits political commentary in entertainment programs

Mediaset prohibits political commentary in entertainment programs

Jorge Javier Vázquez, right, together with various employees of Jorge Javier Vázquez, right, with various collaborators from “Sálvame”, in April 2022. Telecinco

The departure of Paolo Vasile from Mediaset on January 1st has prompted a radical change of course in the channels’ content, particularly Telecinco and Cuatro, the two main offerings of the Berlusconi group, run by the family of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio. The new Board of Directors, led by its President Borja Prado and CEO Alessandro Salem, has communicated to the entire workforce a set of binding regulations prohibiting moderators or employees from expressing opinions, preferences or political comments on entertainment programs. It also prevents anyone participating in any part of the channel from attacking or criticizing another Mediaset program, its moderators or staff. These guidelines are the first step in the transformation plan of the Prado team, which has been supporting the newsroom since the beginning of the year.

These rules, which El Mundo says are an appendix to the Mediaset code of ethics approved in 2012 and updated by the board in July 2019, came into force this Monday. From now on, political opinions can only be expressed in news formats that have their own section, such as El programa de Ana Rosa. However, they are banned from other entertainment venues, such as Sálvame, where the moderators and staff are often prone to making comments of a political nature and openly criticizing their comrades on the set. “Entertainment shows are just that, entertainment, and as such their presenters and staff must refrain from expressing opinions, preferences, or political comments within the show,” the policy reads.

The chain explains that since its approval, the Code of Ethics has become a binding internal regulation, subject to various modifications and updates “depending on the changes in the social and competitive context of the company, as well as in the legislation that regulates all the matters that are the subject of the treatment of the Code itself and which structure the activity of the audiovisual group”.

The document states that drivers are responsible for what is expressed in their programs and that they must immediately stop any intervention that could lead to criminal or civil liability for the chain. And it says that the sanctions that certain comments may entail no longer hit Mediaset, but the person who makes them or the production company who signs the program. It states that no presenter or collaborator may leave a study “live and without a valid reason” and that in such event this will be “considered final for contractual reasons”.

In addition, employees are prohibited from using their participation in the various rooms to promote their products or their own brand. From now on, any advertising claim must be communicated in advance and in writing to Publiespaña, the Mediaset department responsible for the marketing of advertising.

These new rules are added to the announcement recently sent out by the company, which provides instructions for certain regular characters from the Pink Chronicle to no longer appear on Mediaset screens. These include Rocío Carrasco, Fidel Albiac, José Ortega Cano, Kiko Rivera or Bárbara Rey, many of whom are regular faces of Sálvame, the space presented by Jorge Javier Vázquez. Some of them provided juicy viewership data during the phase when Vasile was in charge of Mediaset. The new management team has chosen to sacrifice audience results in favor of content, removing staff scuffles and sheer gossip about celebrity lives from the grid.

The Code of Ethics is a guide to action for both employees, managers and members of the Board of Directors in all their professional relationships. And it also applies to natural or legal persons such as advertisers, media agencies or suppliers who have any kind of relationship with Mediaset. It’s not the first time the company has been forced to tighten its rules to prevent certain formats from being output. Back in 2004, in the midst of a Trash TV wave, Telecinco published a catalog of 21 rules for the suppression of content devoted to gossip about the lives of celebrities that could violate the rights of minors. On that occasion, Vasile admitted that the issued rules were not “in line with the chain’s editorial line, but with the legal line.”

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