Media freedom in the Swiss financial center should be guaranteed

Freedom of the media on financial center issues should be guaranteed. The Federal Council supports a commission motion from the National Council calling for exemption from punishment for media work carried out in good faith on issues relating to the financial and banking center and for an amendment to the Banking Act accordingly.

Journalistenverband Impressum

The motion entitled "Ensuring freedom of the press in financial center matters" was passed by the National Council's Economic Committee WAK-N by 13 votes to 11. Representatives of the center and SVP were against. The motion calls for exemption from punishment for media work in good faith.

The motion requires the Federal Council to propose an amendment to the Banking Act, if necessary. This is to ensure that the article in question cannot affect media work either through deterrence or criminal sanctions if the journalist:s proceed in good faith.

The freedom of the media guaranteed in the Federal Constitution is important to the Federal Council, as it wrote in its approving response published on Thursday. It declared itself ready to propose any necessary amendments to the law.

The WAK-N had submitted its motion in the course of the debate on two parliamentary initiatives of the SP parliamentary group and Raphaël Mahaim (Greens/VD) on the topic. The WAK-N considered both to be too narrowly defined. However, the majority saw a need for clarification - hence the commission motion. The initiatives were withdrawn.

No collaboration with "Suisse Secrets

Because of a provision in the banking law, Tamedia newspapers, for example, were not able to cooperate in the international research network that uncovered the "Suisse Secrets" a year ago. In the reports, the major bank CS was accused of having accepted autocrats, drug dealers and suspected war criminals and human traffickers as clients for years.

According to Irene Khan, UN Rapporteur on Freedom of the Press, the article in question in the Banking Act violates human rights and freedom of the press. In an interview with the Tages-Anzeiger in May 2022, Khan spoke of an example of criminalization of journalism. Even the disclosure of certain bank data is punishable by heavy fines or even imprisonment.

Next, the National Council will decide on the proposal. (SDA)

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