The National Council Commission wants a tighter corset for SRG

Incomplete and not very forward-looking: That is the verdict of the National Council committee responsible for the Federal Council's public service report. It is demanding an additional report on issues relating to the SRG - and would like to limit its options.


By 16 votes to 9, the Commission for Transport and Telecommunications (KVF) has decided to issue a mandate to the Federal Administration, as Commission President Natalie Rickli (SVP/ZH) told the media in Bern on Tuesday. The commission wants to know where there is a market failure that justifies state intervention or a public offer. The administration should also explain which services private providers are currently providing and which they could provide if they were not competing with SRG. Furthermore, it should show how the SRG could use the funds in a more targeted manner if it were to forego services that the market already offers. The commission is thinking primarily of purchased foreign films and series as well as major events. The effects of distortions of competition on other providers are also to be shown.

Maintain online advertising ban

The Commission requires the additional report by the end of the year. The public service report with supplement is then to be discussed in the National Council in the spring session of 2017. However, the Commission is already making concrete demands. For example, it wants to instruct the Federal Council to ban SRG online advertising even after 2018. It adopted a corresponding commission motion by 19 votes to 4 with 2 abstentions. In the Service Public report, the Federal Council considers relaxing the ban in the medium term.

A say in the SRG concession

The Commission is also calling for Parliament to have a greater say in the SRG license. Parliament should be responsible for the general license, while the Federal Council should regulate the details in an operating license. The KVF voted in favor of this commission motion by 13 votes to 11 with 1 abstention. A more far-reaching parliamentary initiative with the same thrust was rejected. The KVF also wants to restrict the SRG's non-licensed activities. Such activities should only be approved if there is a compelling economic need for them. In addition, SRG should only be allowed to cooperate with other media companies if various conditions are met. The KVF has approved parliamentary initiatives with these concerns.

Independent supervisory authority

Finally, the Federal Council should present a report on how an independent supervisory authority for radio and television could be created in Switzerland. This is what the KVF is calling for in a postulate. On the other hand, it said no to a parliamentary initiative for the promotion of journalistic online media. The majority of the commission is of the opinion that private online media should remain independent and thus not be subsidized by the state, said Rickli.

Federal Council in favor of comprehensive offer

Parliament will decide on the proposals. The Council of States will deal with the Federal Council's public service report in the coming fall session. Media Minister Doris Leuthard presented the report in June. If the Federal Council has its way, the SRG should continue to offer a comprehensive public service. In the medium term, however, the Federal Council wants to adapt the model to the Internet age. Specifically, the fee-financed SRG should also be able to develop on the Internet - but without restricting the possibilities of private broadcasters. Furthermore, the Federal Council wants the SRG to distinguish its programs and online offerings even more clearly than before from commercial content. It should also critically review its current practice of purchasing films and series and cooperate more with other broadcasters on broadcasting rights. However, Leuthard also stressed that many SRG offerings would not be profitable for private companies. (SDA)

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