Both sides call for SRG reform and definition of public service

Following the clear result of the vote on the No Billag initiative, there is broad agreement among supporters and opponents that the SRG must be reformed. In addition, the debate about public service should be continued. Politicians are also called upon to do their part.


The proponents of the referendum do not see the clear rejection of the initiative as a failure of the cause. On the contrary, co-initiator Olivier Kessler even spoke to SDA-Video of a "great success, because the 'compulsory fees' could be de-tabooed.

The Swiss Trade Association (SGV) also interprets the yes vote of a good 28 percent as a "clear shot across the bow of the SRG" and a clear mandate to it. The SRG must be fundamentally reformed and redimensioned, the association wrote. It also expects SRG to withdraw from the Admeira advertising alliance. This leads to competitive distortions vis-à-vis the print media.

SRG should keep its promise

Zurich SVP National Councillor Natalie Rickli also sees the vote as positive, as the discussion about SRG was launched, she told SDA. During the referendum campaign, media policy proposals and concessions were made by the SRG as well as by the Federal Council and political parties - for example, the reduction of the fee, a "slimming down at the SRG" or the abolition of the media tax for companies.

All supporters demand that these concessions be honored. "Action is now required," the SVP emphasized in its statement. In addition, the supporters demand that politics now define what exactly belongs to the public service.

"Solidarity has high priority"

Opponents of the initiative generally interpret the result as a "clear commitment to a basic media service" (Operation Libero). Martin Candinas, a member of the Graubünden CVP National Council, also sees it as "a clear sign that solidarity is very important in this country - whether it's linguistic solidarity or solidarity with social minorities.

Lia Rumantscha, the Rhaeto-Romanic language and culture association, interprets it in the same way. The result makes it possible to continue a project that will develop a strategy for a future comprehensive media offering in the Romansh language.

And Joachim Eder, a member of the Zug FDP, is pleased that "the foresight and common sense of the people" has prevailed.

"Business as usual" undesirable

Although the opponents are relieved, they don't want things to go on as before. The "No to No Billag" committee does not see the "No" vote as a carte blanche for SRG. It is their task to make room for other media as well. Arrogance is out of place, said BDP National Councilor Bernhard Guhl.

The Swiss Media Association (VSM) and the Economiesuisse business association stressed that the clear result should not obscure the fact that there is a need for action. A debate on the breadth and depth of SRG's offering remains necessary. The VSM is also calling for a clear definition of the SRG's public service. ( reported).

Reduce the power of the SRG

The SP is calling for stronger protection for the media. "Solutions must now be found for sensible and sustainable financing of our media world," SP President Christian Levrat was quoted as saying.

The Green Liberals are also calling for a clear separation of content financed with public money and the rest of what is on offer. In sports and entertainment, for example, subsidiarity must have priority. This means that private media providers should be given priority over SRG.

The Greens, on the other hand, want SRG to be restructured instead of cut back. The company should distinguish itself from private providers in the selection of its content and stand up for independence, quality and innovation. The Greens see room for maneuver in advertising. This should be gradually reduced in favor of private media.

Start debate immediately

The debate about the new media reality must be continued immediately within the framework of the new SRG concession and the media law, the president of the Green Liberals, Jürg Grossen, was quoted as saying.

The vote was also forward-looking for private radio and television stations. The Association of Swiss Private Radio Stations is correspondingly relieved. Telesuisse, the association of Swiss regional television stations, also points out that criticism from the public about the continued proliferation of public broadcasters must be taken seriously. (SDA)

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