SRG wants to defend itself against renewed attack on public service

SRG takes note of the renewed massive attack against the media public service and will fight it - by once again proving its contribution to society.

An SVP-dominated committee has announced that it will launch a popular initiative for a reduction of the media levy to 200 francs. In addition, it wants to abolish the corporate levy, which has been confirmed several times by the people and parliament. For the private media with a levy share, the status quo is to remain. The SRG takes note of this renewed attack, it announced today. It is ready to prove its contribution to society once again.

Following the Swiss people's clear No to the "No Billag" initiative in 2018, the scope and future of the public service is to be put to the vote again. An SVP-dominated committee announced on Tuesday, March 1, 2022, that it is launching a popular initiative that would result in a massive reduction in SRG's budget.

Based on the demands of the initiators, it is clear that SRG would no longer be financially viable in its current, decentralized structure with such a greatly reduced budget. The consequence would be extensive centralization at probably only one production site - to the chagrin of regional reporting, linguistic minorities and the peripheral regions of our country in particular.

Jean-Michel Cina, Chairman of the SRG Board of Directors: "SRG makes an important contribution to cultural exchange and understanding between the language regions of our country and thus to the cohesion of our society. This is only possible with a strong regional anchoring, which would be threatened by such an initiative."

Consequences for numerous areas

A massive reduction of SRG would be a hard blow for the Swiss media center and especially for the Swiss film, music, culture and sports industries. The resulting centralization of production would also have a striking impact on staff. After SRG has already saved around CHF 100 million in the last three years, major effects on the workforce would be unavoidable. Many external jobs directly dependent on SRG would also be affected, as well as investments of almost CHF 100 million annually in the audiovisual industry and in independent production.

Gilles Marchand, Director General of SRG: "Just four years ago, the Swiss population said a clear 'yes' to a strong public service in the media, with almost 72 percent voting in favor. The employees at SRF, RTS, RSI, RTR, SWI and SRG are committed to this every day with great conviction and deliver recognized quality work. In these days when Europe is confronted with an armed conflict, the information provided by SRG's editorial teams, including directly on the ground, is crucial for understanding the situation. If we have to prove our service to society again in the context of a No Billag 2, we will do it with all our strength."

The household media levy has already been cut by more than 25 percent since 2018. After the SRG has already sharply reduced its budget in the same period, further cuts would inevitably lead to a reduction in quality. A vote in favor of such an initiative would be accompanied by a major decline in independent information offerings, which are necessary for the formation of public opinion and the functioning of direct democracy.

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