According to the Press Council, an increasing number of articles appear in Swiss newspapers and online media that are purchased advertising but are not clearly recognizable as such. This would deceive and mislead the audience, and the media would thus damage their own credibility as independent reporters. The Press Council insists that the audience must be able to distinguish advertising from editorial content at first glance.
For example, the Press Council has received several complaints alleging an unclear distinction between editorial content and advertising. The Press Council has already dealt with one complaint. It criticizes the NZZ on Sunday because of a full-page article entitled "Superhero Pork," which was largely identical in type, layout and design to the editorial pages of the NZZ on Sunday had been. Only two differences had been recognizable: The page title said "Sponsored Content by Proviande" and at the end of the article it said "This article was created by NZZ Content Solutions on behalf of Proviande." According to the Press Council, it would take a very close look to recognize that this was paid advertising and not editorial content.
In doing so, the NZZ am Sonntag had violated the Journalists' Code of Conduct. This requires that paid content be clearly distinguished from editorial content. If this is not the case, the advertising must be clearly declared as such. The NZZ on Sunday omitted.
In such forms of advertising, the term "sponsoring" is often used incorrectly, although it is obviously advertising. In sponsoring, editorial contributions are financed without any influence being exerted on their content. Paid content, on the other hand, is advertising. According to the Press Council, this mixing of sponsoring and advertising also damages the credibility of journalism.
Journalists' Association welcomes statement
The journalists' association Imprint writes in a statement that it welcomes the statement of the Press Council. It also calls on the NZZ Group to publish the statement and for all media companies to refrain in future "from the practice of obviously intended confusion between editorial and paid content".