Glarus Councillor of States Thomas Hefti receives journalist's prize for abuse

In 2021, a special edition of the "Golden Brake Block" journalism prize will be awarded to Thomas Hefti, a member of the Council of States for the FDP in Glarus. According to the research network Investigativ.ch, the award is given to people who have "rendered outstanding services" in the prevention of information.

Marc Meschenmoser, Co-President of Investigativ.ch, with the Golden Brake Block 2021. (Image: Investigativ.ch)

Several ongoing issues in parliament could affect the freedom of the media and the research conditions of media professionals in Switzerland, the Research Network of Investigative Journalists in Switzerland announced on Saturday. Hefti is behind a motion in parliament to tighten Article 266 of the Code of Civil Procedure and to simplify the prevention of unpopular media articles.

Specifically, it concerns the hurdle for court-imposed super-provisional injunctions against reports in regularly appearing media. In addition to other criteria, in future a "serious disadvantage" is to be sufficient as justification for temporarily preventing the publication of a media report. Previously, a "particularly serious disadvantage" was required. The Council of States approved the proposal by 30 votes to 12.

Hefti had thus launched "probably the most serious attack" on critical journalists in the secrecy of a commission meeting, the Investigativ.ch statement said. No statement was initially available from the 61-year-old liberal politician and lawyer. According to the organizers, he did not accept the award personally at the annual meeting of the research network in Biel BE.

The Research Network has awarded an annual "Golden Brake Block" since 2014. With this award, it wants to draw attention to the prevention of information and make it the subject of debate.

Previous winners have been the Federal Office for Agriculture, PR consultant Sacha Wigdorovits, former National Council President Christa Markwalder (FDP/BE), the Federal Criminal Court, SVP National Councillor Jean-Luc Addor from the Canton of Valais, industrialist Jørgen Bodum and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs Seco. (SDA)

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