Premium asses, streets and sighs

The Zurich Radio Prize and the Zurich Television Prize were awarded 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 heart 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 entirely accurate. The musicians enthralled 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 Prize 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, member of the jury and foundation board, said that the A1 motorway 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 not just happy about individual transport. 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 travelled from there, arrived in Zurich in an eight-hour train journey. "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, told us that he had found it "quite good to be able to employ my little brother on this production", as 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 world's oldest small transporter), SRF 2 Kultur "Hörpunkt" (SRF 2 Culture "Listening Point") gave viewers the opportunity to learn about many new aspects of being a donkey.

Walter Rüegg, member of the jury and the board of trustees, also 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 was much too long - on the other hand, precisely because of this, it made possible a lot of information that could not be presented in such a short time.

Mules on the road alone - as contraband transport animals

In the excerpt heard at the award ceremony, an interviewee said that countless mules were 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," the narrator says. After a few days' 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 - Über den Umgang mit dem Unfassbaren" (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. For months Michael Luisier tried 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 no longer allowed to ask anything, but should simply let the artist talk. 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 knows a lot about coping with grief explained to him that Luz reacts in exactly the same way as people do after a shock experience, and that the credibility is there.

War reporter Kurt Pelda on photos and their misuse

As a conclusion, Kurt Pelda, journalist and well-known war reporter, gave a short, intensive lecture on the topic "Establishing credibility in journalism. The importance of social media as sources". He showed the original provenance of photos which went through social media in completely the 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 via 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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