Ombudsman's office reprimands "Tagesschau" for report on FIFA affair

The SRG Ombudsman's Office has upheld a complaint against a report by SRF's "Tagesschau" on the FIFA affair. The complaint concerned the selection of experts and their accusations against the Swiss judiciary in connection with the closure of the investigation into alleged secret meetings between former Federal Prosecutor Michael Lauber and FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

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The program featured two experts, the former Basel public prosecutor Markus Mohler and Thomas Kistner, the German journalist for sports politics at the South German Newspapercriticized the decision of the Swiss judiciary.

As the ombudsman's office announced on Wednesday evening, Kistner had said, among other things, that the Swiss justice system was "extremely questionable". Again and again, a kind of "caring protection of functionaries is practiced". Infantino was the only third person to have his say.

The extraordinary federal prosecutors responsible for the recruitment had lodged a complaint against the article. In their view, it was unacceptable for a journalist from abroad to criticize the Swiss authorities, for this criticism to go unchallenged and for the complainants not to be confronted with it.

Tagesschau" defended its report and the selection of experts. They were a criminal law expert and a world-renowned journalist for sports politics. In addition, the statements were clearly recognizable as subjective and were not directed against the prosecutors, but against the Swiss justice system in general.

No opposing position

However, the ombudsman's office takes a different view and upheld the complaint. The article left the public with the impression of "nepotism", as the discontinuation of the proceedings was described as "strange" and there was talk of "lack of transparency" and "secrecy".

It was not enough to let the former defendant speak as a counter-position. Other experts should have been consulted in order to contradict the overall impression of "favoritism". The "Tagesschau" had therefore violated the principle of fairness with the report. (SDA)

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