Media control to be reorganized

Under Doris Leuthard, a joint control body for electronic and printed media could be created.


After the publishers' association last week Withdrawn from the Press Council and cancelled the annual 36,000 francs, the self-regulatory body of the Swiss press is facing difficult times, because the money would be urgently needed to survive in the long run with a deficit of 20,000-30,000 francs. However, President Bernhard Cathomas is not only disappointed and angry about the sudden "unbelievable" withdrawal for financial reasons. Above all, he is concerned about the signal that this sends when publishers abandon their own quality assurance.

New solutions are therefore needed to ensure its continued existence in the longer term. Of course, the question arises as to whether media supervision should receive state support - as in other European countries. According to Cathomas, Otfried Jarren, President of the Federal Media Commission (EMEK), has already promised this - but he has also signaled that the entire media supervision should be reconsidered in view of the current upheavals.

At present, electronic and printed media are controlled separately. The extrajudicial Independent Complaints Authority (UBI) adjudicates complaints against the TV, radio and Internet content of the SRG and private companies. The Press Council is only responsible for printed media and is also 100 percent supported and financed by them.

An initial discussion is now to take place with Media Minister Doris Leuthard in October. The weakened Press Council is a "poor argument for promoting internal industry self-regulation," writes Schweiz am Sonntag. Even if the Publishers Association prefers "a self-regulatory organization of the industry," according to CEO Andreas Häuptli.

Meanwhile, the future president of the association, Pietro Supino, is leaving the industry perspective and announced his own solution after the Press Council resigned: In his Tamedia group, he wants to create an in-house quality control department under the leadership of ex-Tages-Anzeiger editor-in-chief Res Strehle. This is despite the fact that Strehle is actually considered the favorite to succeed Press Council President Cathomas, who is stepping down at the end of the year. The situation is "tricky," writes the newspaper. (hae)

Photo: Keystone

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