Media coverage of Italian-speaking communities insufficient according to study

According to a recent study, the quality of media provision in Graubünden is not equally good in all three language regions. The supply of regional information in Italian is judged to be critical.

The study on the situation of the media and on media promotion in Graubünden, published on Thursday, was prepared in response to a resolution of the Graubünden parliament. The cantonal government commissioned media scientists from the University of St. Gallen and the Graubünden University of Applied Sciences to carry out the study.

In principle, the authors of the study conclude that the coverage of news media in all three languages is "still good" in Graubünden. However, the coverage of Italian-speaking Graubünden with information about what is happening in the canton is insufficient. This was the result of a survey among representatives of the Italian-language media in the Grisons.

Too little news from southern Grisons

According to the study, RSI, the radio and television station of Italian-speaking Switzerland, provides insufficient regional and local information from the three Italian-speaking valleys of southern Grisons. The study gives a similarly negative assessment to the regional Italian-language contribution of the Grisons media house Somedia.

The gap in Puschlav, Bergell and Misox would be filled by three online portals and the Italian weekly newspaper Il Grigione Italiano to fill it, according to the statement. In addition, there is a 50 percent editorial position for Italian-language news at the Keystone-SDA news agency. The latter was set up in 2017 on behalf of the canton of Graubünden and is financed by the federal and cantonal language subsidies.

The introduction of the Italian-language regional newsroom at Keystone-SDA has indeed improved the news situation considerably, write the media scientists. However, the part-time position is still not enough to achieve good coverage of Italian-language news at the cantonal, regional and local levels.

Expansion of Italian-language news

In order to improve the media coverage of Italian-speaking Bünden in its traditional language, the study authors propose expanding the Keystone-SDA position to 100 percent. In addition, the Italian-language online portals Ilbernina.ch, Ilmoesano.ch and Labregaglia.ch should receive direct financial support. A renewal of their online infrastructure is also recommended.

According to the media scientists, the above measures could also be combined in the formation of an Italian-language agency. This could be modeled on the Fundaziun Medias Rumantschas (FMR), which supplies the Romansh media with journalistic content. The proposal to establish and financially support a Romansh-Italian editorial office or agency goes even further.

Rhaeto-Romanic FMR with good results

The cooperation of the FMR with the Romansh newspapers and the Rhaeto-Romanic radio and television RTR is assessed in the study as "good and sufficient". This opinion is also shared by the Graubünden government, as it wrote in a statement on Thursday. The executive sees this cooperation as the key to the "satisfactory situation" at Romansh media.

The government wants to continue to focus on the two cantonal language minorities when it comes to media promotion. It has commissioned the Department of Education, Culture and Environmental Protection (Ekud) to draw up a proposal for improving media provision for the Italian-speaking population.

After the federal referendum on February 13 on more state media funding, Ekud is to examine the study's other proposals. These include financial support for the digital transformation of media and the training of young journalists in the canton. (SDA)

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