The responsible parliamentary commissions want to relaunch parts of the failed media promotion reform. The National Council's Commission for Transport and Telecommunications KVF-N has approved two different parliamentary initiatives from the Council of States, as the parliamentary services announced on Tuesday. The Commission of the Council of States can now draw up corresponding amendments to the law to strengthen media diversity.
Press Council, Maz, Keystone-SDA
These include new support measures for the electronic media. For example, the federal government should be able to support "long-term practical training and continuing education for editorial staff," such as at the Maz School of Journalism. The Press Council should also be able to apply for funding on request.
And support for news agencies such as Keystone-SDA is also to be given a new legal basis. Financial compensation should be available for "audiovisual content of national importance that guarantees an equivalent offering in German, French and Italian. The financial need would have to be justified. The distribution of dividends would be prohibited for the duration of the federal subsidies.
According to the text of the initiative, all funding measures may cover a maximum of eighty percent of the costs. The contributions are to be paid from the proceeds of the radio and television tax - more precisely: a maximum of one percent from this pot.
Promote peripheral areas
The National Council Commission also believes that the Swiss Radio and Television Company SRG should receive less money from the pot of the radio and television levy in the future. Accordingly, six to eight percent should go to regional radio and television stations.
The National Council Commission considers this distribution change an important step to strengthen media diversity without having to make adjustments to the amount of the levies, it wrote. This should ensure media diversity in the best possible way, especially in peripheral areas. The Council of States commission can now deal with the details.
In addition, the National Council Commission has begun implementation work on another initiative from the ranks of its Council, which aims to provide increased indirect support for small regional newspaper publishers - for a limited period of seven years. According to the press release, the drafts are to be prepared immediately by the administration so that the consultation process can begin this year if possible.
Need for action little disputed
These proposals take up elements of the media package that was rejected by the people at the ballot box on February 13, 2022. During the referendum campaign, the tenor of the parliamentary committees was that it was undisputed that small regional media publishers deserved more support. Indirect funding to ensure the continued existence of the regional daily press is indispensable.
The situation of the media continues to be tense. The difficulties lie primarily in the sharp decline in both advertising revenues and subscriber numbers at the print media, and in the very limited willingness of the readership to pay for online media consumption. (SDA)