Fribourg State Council is aware of the role of the media

"The state is well aware of the importance of the media." This was emphasized by Fribourg State Councillor Olivier Curty following the dismissal of six journalists at Radio Fribourg. However, the canton cannot support private companies or certain areas of activity.

A Radio Fribourg studio. State Councillor Olivier Curty rejected criticism from station managers on Friday. They had accused the canton of not having supported the station sufficiently. (Archive image: Keystone/Jean-Christophe Bott)

The announcement of the job cuts at Radio Fribourg comes in a "very difficult context" for a sector that is struggling with structural difficulties, said Fribourg's Director of Economic Affairs in an interview with the newspaper La Liberté out. He regrets the announced redundancies.

"Unlike others, Fribourg introduced media funding during the Covid pandemic that ran until the end of 2021," recalled Curty. The canton paid out more than 2.5 million francs in aid. As part of immediate measures, the federal government paid CHF 1.6 million to the Fribourg print media and CHF 1.3 million to Radio Fribourg/Freiburg to compensate for losses in advertising and sponsorship.

Reimbursement controversial

"We then actually received requests from Radio Fribourg for additional aid, which we were unable to meet," added the State Councillor. The medium complained on Wednesday about the lack of support from the canton and contested the repayment of an amount of 138,000 francs that had been granted as part of the Covid measures.

After the federal aid was awarded, it emerged that Radio Fribourg had been overcompensated, explained Olivier Curty. "The demand for reimbursement of the excess amount received is a normal procedure that is applied to any type of public aid awarded," emphasized the State Councillor.

On 1 May, Radio Fribourg had already announced that it would have to cut 3.6 jobs after recording a loss of half a million francs in the 2022 financial year. At the end of November, the company announced that it would be cutting a further six jobs. The reduction corresponds to 4.8 full-time equivalents. (SDA)

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