ALIA reprimands Den Nol op de Kapp
The Authority criticises manipulative editing of audio and images
On 12 January 2017, the Luxembourg Independent Media Authority (ALIA) issued a reprimand against a report broadcast during the programme Den Nol op de Kapp on the channel RTL Télé Lëtzebuerg. In its decision, ALIA noted that images and audio had been edited in such a way as to create the appearance of a false reality – a manipulative technique that contravenes a number of obligations resulting from the regulatory texts governing the concession granted to CLT-Ufa. These obligations include respecting the “truthful nature of information” and prohibit “significantly altering the meaning of statements and images gathered by means of cuts or montage techniques”.
ALIA acted on its own initiative following the stir created in the press by a report produced by Marc Thoma and broadcast on 3 October 2016, which referred to an incident during an interview between the Director of Mudam Luxembourg, Enrico Lunghi, and the journalist Sophie Schram from RTL Télé Lëtzebuerg. Acting within the framework of its legal powers, the Authority restricted its investigation to examining compliance with the ethical provisions governing RTL Télé Lëtzebuerg; its role is not to judge the behaviour of the Mudam Director.
A detailed analysis of the rushes published on the rtl.lu website enabled ALIA to determine that, firstly, the report deleted around 30 seconds of the initial interview without clearly indicating, using appropriate means, that in reality the images shown did not follow in sequence; secondly, the report combined two sentences that were originally spoken around thirty seconds apart to create a single statement. Viewers were therefore faced with a single, strongly worded statement without being given the possibility to realise that, between the two exclamations by the Mudam Director, various other questions and answers had been exchanged.
Moreover, ALIA noted that, as laid down in its specifications, RTL Télé Lëtzebuerg is obliged to provide quality programming and to fulfil various public service obligations. Viewers are therefore entitled to expect programmes that present information in which they can have complete confidence. The methods used in this programme do not meet this standard.
Since the Authority concluded that the programme Den Nol op de Kapp had manifestly and gravely infringed the provisions that it was required to observe, the Board of Directors issued a reprimand against RTL Télé Lëtzebuerg. (The station radio 100,7 conducted an interview with the Managing Director of ALIA which particularly focused on the decision taken by the Board of Directors.)
To illustrate the way in which the footage was manipulated, ALIA has produced this montage which compares the report as it was broadcast with the relevant sections of the rushes before any editing of the images and audio.