Ex-SRG communications chief forges alliance against No Billag initiative

After the successes of the supporters, the opponents are becoming increasingly nervous about the No Billag initiative. Ex-SRG communications chief and PR agency owner Iso Rechsteiner is now mobilizing - and receiving support from various quarters.


It was not an easy week for the opponents of the No Billag initiative: Not only the delegates of the Zurich SVP clearly said yes, but also the head of the trade association, which represents 300,000 companies, recently backed the controversial vote next March. (Werbewoche.ch reported).

Now SRG is getting backing from ex-radio director and ex-communications chief Iso Rechsteiner. On his own initiative and voluntarily, as the 51-year-old told the SonntagsBlick emphasizes. He has no mandates, nor does he earn a centime from it: "For me, it's about the cause," says the current owner of the PR agency Mint Communications.

His plan is to bring together institutions, associations, culture and companies to join forces against the No Billag initiative. Because he considers it dangerous. Even if criticism of SRG is legitimate, the initiative is throwing out the baby with the bathwater, says the PR expert: "I don't want to live in a country without public media.

Rechsteiner is not alone in his concern. Various sides are gearing up against the threat of the lights going out on Leutschenbach. For example, the Swiss Performers' Cooperative, which represents 4,000 artists, wants to make a strong stand against the No Billag proposal. Writer Pedro Lenz has already founded an association called "No to the end of broadcasting".

SRG journalists speak out

Meanwhile, those "directly affected" are also speaking out: SRG has allowed its employees to express themselves openly in the social media since mid-October. Many journalists are making use of this new freedom, as the Switzerland at the weekend observed. Business figurehead Patrizia Laeri, for example, recently took a clear stand: "Traditional media will not survive without fee money or patrons," she wrote on Twitter.

Other exponents are more privately involved. "As a citizen, I am naturally campaigning in my environment for a No to the No Billag initiative," says "10 vor 10" presenter Arthur Honegger to the newspaper. But he is not nervous.

Journalists who have been informed by the Switzerland at the weekend do not wish to be named. They speak of a growing nervousness among staff and management. They feel under pressure, says one journalist: "Simply because we know that it's a matter of everything or nothing. (hae)

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