SRG copes with No Billag reporting "brilliantly" according to ombudsman's office

In 2018, SRG had to report neutrally on the No Billag initiative, a topic on which it was both object and party. It mastered this challenge "with flying colors," writes the ombudsman's office of SRG Deutschschweiz.

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The No Billag initiative has encouraged many complainants who expected SRG to be abolished soon, according to the ombudsman's office's annual report published on Tuesday.

There was often a lot of emotion involved in the complaints, including in the case of the Facebook educational series "Dr. Bock" or the double-headed eagle discussion during the soccer World Cup. The journalistic debate on the self-determination initiative in the fall was no less intense.

Factually correct and true to the facts

As before, the most frequent reason for criticism is a violation of the principle of objectivity. In 2018, 67 of a total of 419 complaints about SRG broadcasts or publications were related to direct democracy.

The ombudsman's office was not responsible for 72 complaints. This affected 274 articles. Overall, the editorial teams had worked in a proper and factual manner - 81 percent of the complaints could not be supported.

Overall, the ombudsman's office gives the editorial offices a good report. The 19 percent of supported complaints was roughly the same as in previous years. The best score was achieved in the online area, with 89.9 percent of unsupported complaints.

Relief for the UBI

17 times, SRF broadcasts or publications were the subject of complaints before the Independent Complaints Authority for Radio and Television (UBI). The latter always ruled in line with the ombudsman's assessments - with two exceptions: in the case of one "Puls" broadcast and one "Schweiz aktuell" broadcast, the ombudsman's office partially supported the respective complaint, while the UBI dismissed the complaint.

It is evident that the ombudsman's office is perceived as an important point of contact: Less than 5 percent of the cases had subsequently become complaints before the UBI. (SDA)

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