SVP supports No Billag - Roger Köppel takes a shot at SRG

The SVP Switzerland voted in favor of the No Billag initiative on Saturday. The delegates in Confignon GE clearly recommended the initiative, which will be voted on March 4, with 239 yes against 17 no and 5 abstentions.

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The evening before, the SVP party executive committee had already voted in favor of the initiative with 23 votes in favor, 3 against and one abstention. At the delegates' meeting on Saturday, all of the party's major figures also expressed this position.

Weltwoche editor-in-chief and Zurich SVP national councilor Roger Köppel was at the forefront of criticism of SRG. "Billag fees are poison for the Swiss media landscape," Köppel told delegates. Because it is dependent on the state, the SRG also thinks like the state, the Zurich national councilor noted. Today, it is possible to cover the need for information with private press products and electronic media in all national languages without any problems.

"Intimate cuddly closeness" and a Nazi comparison

Roger Köppel called on delegates to rid themselves of the "oversized, overpaid, overestimated and outlived state SRG."

Federal Berne and the SRG are far too close, Köppel said. The latter has "developed an intimate, cuddly closeness to the Federal Council, the federal administration and the politicians who coddle them," the Weltwoche publisher said on Saturday. In doing so, Köppel compared the role of public broadcasting in Switzerland to that of the media in dictatorial states: "Authoritarian-ruled countries in particular insisted on the supremacy of the state in the broadcasting sector," he is quoted as saying in SonntagsBlick. He thinks of the "Volksempfänger of propaganda minister Goebbels in Nazi Germany". (SDA/hae)

Only a few votes against

Before the afternoon vote, Geneva SVP National Councilor Céline Amaudruz recommended that the 259 delegates save themselves the 450 franc fee. The SP would then have to finance its propaganda itself in the future, said Amaudruz, and received applause for this.

There were only a few dissenting voices. A Lucerne delegate from the Suhrental reminded of the minorities and peripheral regions. Even as a supporter of popular culture, he had to say no to the No Billag initiative, the delegate held. A delegate from Vaud also drew attention to the fact that the SVP electorate in rural regions appreciated what SRG had to offer. Most speakers, however, recommended the initiative for acceptance, such as the president of the Zurich SVP and member of the National Council, Mauro Tuena.

This was not altered by the comments of Olivier Français, member of the Council of States for the FDP in Vaud. He had taken the opposing position before the delegates' meeting and reminded them that there was no plan B for SRG and that the initiative would also abolish the independent complaints office.

It would not be the regional radio and television stations that would profit from an acceptance, but the foreign television stations. However, ARD would not broadcast a Schwingfest, said Olivier Français. However, the delegates followed the party executive and backed the initiative.

In the final vote, the popular initiative was clearly accepted with 239 yes against 17 no with 5 abstentions. The SVP sections of the cantons of Zurich, Bern, Aargau, Neuchâtel and Vaud had already voted in favor before the delegates' meeting.

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