Switzerland Government and Media
Government Type: Federal Republic
Head of Government: President of the Swiss Confederation Simonetta Sommaruga
Political Party: SP (The Social Democratic Party of Switzerland)
Political Position: Center-Left
World Press Freedom Rank: Switzerland 8/180
In 2020, Reporters Without Borders ranked Switzerland 8/180 in their Press Freedom Index, stating overall Switzerland is a very safe country for journalists in terms of press freedom, however the financial situation of the media sector, in general, is cause for concern as “media outlets are continuing to close and media concentration is increasing.” Another issue stated by RSF is regarding the recent libel suit filed by billionaire politicians in Lausanne and Geneva against newspaper Le Courrier. Due to the nature of these types of lawsuits being too costly and newspapers in general already struggling with finances “can have a chilling effect on journalists, especially as the economic situation of the media has been a source of concern for years.”
Government Influence on Media: Swiss Media consists of a mix of corporately owned media outlets as well as publicly funded TV and radio stations. SRG SSR (Swiss Broadcasting Corporation) operates many radio and TV channels in countries’ national languages (German, French, Italian, and Romansh). They are mainly funded by license fees from the public, and revenue from advertisements. Right-leaning political parties and corporations argue that the state-controlled broadcasting company has a monopoly and SRG SSR (Swiss Broadcasting Corporation) programs are left-leaning or too close to the government. As a result, Switzerland held a referendum to abolish license fees which were rejected by the Swiss citizens.
A corporately owned media example is Axel Springer Schweiz AG. In 2016, it merged with Ringier, and together they formed Ringier Axel Springer Schweiz AG. It provides multimedia services and publishes magazines and newspapers. Another example is Ringier which publishes newspapers, magazines and runs internet portals. Another group is The Edipresse Group that is owned by the Lamunière family which publishes major daily newspapers in French-speaking Switzerland.
In conclusion, the Swiss Government has indirect and direct control over the public broadcasters. For example, Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SRG SSR) is governed by a Board of Directors, however, who appoints the Board of Directors is not clear as they are probably appointed by the government. Furthermore, it is difficult to locate the owners of media as Swiss law does not go very far with respect to transparency requirements compared to other countries. This can result in unknown media influence on Government.
|Top 5 Swiss Media Sources by Web Rank|