Simon Marti from NZZ am Sonntag wins Prix Transparence 2023

For a long time, the Federal Council pored over the sensitive dossier on sanctions against China - and kept quiet about it in public. Simon Marti has been awarded the Prix Transparence 2023 by the NZZ am Sonntag for his reconstruction of these discussions.

(Image: zVg.)

Based on official documents, Swiss media professionals produced more stories in 2023 than ever before, showing how Migros put pressure on the price watchdog or how an investigation into leaks in the Federal Council violated the personal rights of thousands of people. The best transparency story of 2023 was chosen by a Expert jury a series of articles by Simon Marti in the "NZZ am Sonntag" on China sanctions.

From spring 2021, the Federal Council wrestled with the delicate question of whether it should support EU sanctions against China for human rights violations against Uyghurs. For months, the government had a coordination group clarify the legal aspects, opportunities and risks of such a decision.

Mechanisms of decision-making disclosed

After several consultations, the Federal Council rejected measures against Chinese officials or companies. This contradicted the Confederation's official China strategy, which places a strong emphasis on human rights. The Federal Council did not communicate its decision to the public. This would undoubtedly have caused a stir and attracted criticism.

On the concealed process in the government demanded NZZ-on-Sunday-journalist Simon Marti obtained documents from the administration and fought for access, which was initially denied, in an arbitration procedure. "This type of research makes it possible to efficiently decipher the mechanisms of a very political decision-making process," says Nicole Lamon, member of the expert jury.

Regional prize goes to Léman Bleu

The Prix Transparence Regio, which honors research in regional and local journalism, goes this year to Jérémy Seydoux from "Léman Bleu". He investigated the question of whether Fabienne Fischer, then a member of Geneva's Green Party State Council, had misused state funds for her election campaign.

A Geneva cantonal councillor had received numerous documents and emails under the cantonal publicity law that pointed to discrepancies in the election campaign of the Green Party state councillor. The journalistic analysis by Jérémy Seydoux showed that offensive communication activities had indeed taken place by two of the State Councillor's employees. This may have exceeded their regular duties and served their personal interests rather than the department.

Ö awards the national Prix Transparence for the sixth time. The award is presented to media professionals who apply a publicity law in a targeted and effective manner.

  • In 2022, the journalist Yves Demuth was honored by the Beobachter. He persistently demanded facts about interned young women from the administration.
  • In 2021, journalist Adrienne Fichter was honored by Republik. Using official documents, she reconstructed internal federal discussions about the privatization of electronic identity. 
  • In 2020, journalists Jan Jirát, Kaspar Surber and Lorenz Naegeli were honored by the Woz. For five years, they fought for data that provided a deep insight into the Swiss arms business.
  • In 2019, Nina Blaser and Anielle Peterhans from the "Rundschau" were honored. They brought the facts about the price negotiations for a cancer drug to the table.
  • Philippe Boeglin was honored by La Liberté in 2018. He used the Publicity Act to expose the army's excessive spending.

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