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The Zurich Radio and Zurich Television Awards were presented on Monday. The television prize went to Tobi and Mike Müller for their documentary "A1 - A Strip of Swiss Road". The radio prize was awarded twice: to Katharina Bochsler and her team for a six-hour donkey report, and to Michael Luisier, who interviewed the Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Luz.


Since 2006, the Zurich Radio and Zurich Television Awards have been presented every two years in the stylish setting of the Zunfthaus zur Meisen in the center of Zurich. It is organized by the Zurich Radio Foundation. The three winning projects received a total of CHF 50,000 in prize money.

Its president Ruth Halter welcomed the numerous guests and left the stage to the musical siblings Küng. They describe their music as "innovative Appenzell string music", which is completely accurate. The musicians thrilled the guests from the very first note. Throughout the evening, they set harmonious accents with their instruments - violin, cello, double bass and dulcimer. Ruth Halter introduced the group as "full of verve, cheerfulness and poetry" - she could not have expressed it better.


Traffic critically illuminated

The 2016 Television Award went to the brothers Mike and Tobi Müller for their documentary "A1 - A Strip of Swiss Road". The co-production of Jurasüdfuss with SRF Sternstunden was shown in excerpts. In his laudatory speech, Heinrich von Grünigen, jury and foundation board member, told the audience that the A 1 freeway is a Swiss lifeline that simultaneously divides and connects. Old film footage from 1966, which is part of the documentary, shows the proud people who cut the ribbon to the asphalt of freedom back then - today some people are no longer just happy about individual traffic. This is also the theme of Tobi and Mike Müller's film. He tells the Swiss road construction history entertaining and profound, but also at criticism is not spared.


Tobi Müller, who lives in Berlin and traveled from there, arrived in Zurich in an eight-hour train ride. "When we make a film about sustainability, it's a bit difficult to travel to Zurich by plane." Mike Müller, never at a loss for a wisecrack, said he found it "quite good to be able to hire my little brother on this production," since he was self-employed.

Touching donkey and human fates

The Zurich Radio Prize went to two projects and their creators. Firstly, to Katharina Bochsler, Eva Oertli and Sara Trauffer (photo above) with their six-hour homage to donkeys and mules. Under the title "Der Esel - der älteste Kleintransporter der Welt" ("The donkey - the oldest small transporter in the world") one could learn about many new aspects of being a donkey on SRF 2 Kultur "Hörpunkt".

Walter Rüegg, member of the jury and the board of trustees, thought with a wink that from his point of view "six hours for a donkey is quite a lot", but seriously said that one could think that the format is much too long - but precisely because of that it allows for a lot of information that could not be presented in such a short time.

Mules traveling alone - as contraband transport animals

In the excerpt heard at the awards ceremony, an interviewee told the audience that countless mules are used in eastern Anatolia solely for smuggling purposes. "The mules are loaded with the smuggled goods, such as undeclared electronics, diesel, gasoline, or basic foodstuffs, and make the journey to Iran or Turkey alone at night. The smugglers find it too dangerous to be there." How cowardly man can be! "The mules are so clever that once they have to go the way accompanied by conspecifics, then they find it alone, in another group of about ten mules each," says the narrator. After a few days of rest, the donkeys, "freshly" loaded with other contraband, are sent on their way back.

The three women accepted the prize overjoyed. Katharina Bochsler stated in her acceptance speech that man is the only animal that tames other animals. Everyone could make up their own minds about this. "Radio SRF 2 has the time to go into depth. I give thanks for laying out the carpet for this miracle - me and the many donkeys and mules."

From interview to monologue

The second radio prize went to Michael Luisier and his production "Katharsis - On Dealing with the Inconceivable," which was heard on SRF 2 Kultur "Kontext" for 24 minutes. This reproduces a conversation with the French cartoonist Luz from Charlie Hebdo. With long pauses, Luz tells of his memories of the attack and his thoughts. The translator imitates Luz in detail, including his sighs and hesitant statements. The broadcast thus appears very intimate and authentic. Michael Luisier spent months trying to get an interview with Luz. When he was finally able to carry it out, it got out of hand after a short time: he felt that he was not allowed to ask anything more, but should simply let the cartoonist tell the story. So the planned interview turned into a monologue in which Luz tells how he was the first to enter the editorial office of Charlie Hebdo after the attack - only alive because he had overslept.


"For a moment I thought Luz was a charlatan as I sat in the newsroom at five in the morning working on the show." But an acquaintance who was familiar with grief counseling explained to him that Luz reacted in the same way as people do after a shock experience, and that the credibility was there.

War reporter Kurt Pelda about photos and their abuse

As a conclusion, Kurt Pelda, journalist and well-known war reporter, gave a short, intensive lecture on "Establishing Credibility in Journalism. The importance of social media as sources". He showed the original origin of photos, which went through social media in completely wrong context. He noted in passing that his work is no laughing matter: "I have to interrupt briefly because I have a very long password on my laptop. Not only am I being threatened physically, but people are also trying to get through to me virtually by hacking." Foundation President Ruth Halter's closing words hit home, "Who else can I believe? I think I must leave you with this thought for the aperitif."

Malini Gloor


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