Non-partisan committee makes the case for media funding
In view of the probable referendum vote on the media subsidy package passed by parliament, a non-partisan Yes committee has been formed. This includes the Swiss Media Publishers Association and parliamentarians from all parliamentary groups with the exception of the SVP.
The temporary media package is necessary for strengthening democracy-relevant reporting and regional diversity, the committee "Freedom of Expression" announced on Friday. It said media companies face "daunting" challenges in the face of declining revenues and pressure from global Internet companies. In addition, social media without journalistic standards would influence the dissemination of information and opinions.
"The private Swiss media make an indispensable contribution to the basic media supply in our Swiss direct democracy," the statement reads. This service must "urgently" be ensured in the future as well.
120 million more
According to resolutions passed by parliament in the summer session, the Swiss media are to receive CHF 120 million more in direct and indirect funding over seven years than before. Printed media, the member and foundation press, online media, media training and news agencies such as Keystone-SDA are to benefit. According to the committee, over a hundred publishing houses, institutions and other organizations could be supported.
A committee under the name "No to state-funded media" collected signatures against the bill. According to information provided by the committee on Tuesday, the 50,000 signatures required for a referendum have been collected, one month before the end of the collection period. This means that the people will probably be able to decide on the media subsidy in February.
The opposition, made up of publishers, entrepreneurs, media professionals and 72 members of parliament, criticizes the "unnecessary and harmful subsidies. If the state buys the media, they would become state media, the committee claims. "That would be the end of Switzerland's free and independent media landscape, as no one bites the hand that feeds you." (SDA)