Advertising campaign on the No Billag initiative shows strong regional differences

On average, a large number of referendum advertisements were placed on the No Billag initiative. However, there are regional differences: in particular in regions with language minorities, supporters and opponents of the initiative have been more active.


By 21 February, 11 days before the vote on the No Billag initiative, 310 advertisements had been published in 52 print media analysed. For the other 48 votes analysed since 2013, the average number of advertisements at the same time was 282. This is shown in an analysis published on Friday by Année Politique Suisse (APS). It was mainly opponents of the initiative who placed advertisements. 196 of all newspaper advertisements oppose the No Billag initiative, 96 are in favour of it. This corresponds roughly to the average ratio for advertising campaigns, according to the press release. The remaining 18 advertisements could not be attributed to either the opponents or the supporters of the initiative. These are, for example, advertisements for panel discussions.

It was noticeable that the campaigns were strongly concentrated in certain regions. Opponents of the initiative were particularly active in the canton of Graubünden, in eastern Switzerland and in the French-speaking cantons. According to the evaluation, the proponents of the initiative invested particularly heavily in Ticino. The campaigns of supporters and opponents were weak in the most populous German-speaking cantons of Switzerland: Zurich, Bern and Aargau. But even in the national newspapers, according to the press release, there were no or hardly any advertisements for the No Billag initiative. Both supporters and opponents advertised significantly more often than usual in regional and therefore lower-circulation newspapers.

There are also differences between the various language regions. In German-speaking Switzerland, 98 contra advertisements and 35 pro advertisements were published. Advertisements from all German-language newspapers were analysed, except those from the canton of Graubünden. In Graubünden, 27 contra advertisements and only 3 pro advertisements were published. In the French-language newspapers in French-speaking Switzerland, there were no pro advertisements at all; 62 contra advertisements were recorded. In both regions there are strong fears of a loss of media diversity in their own language should the initiative be accepted, as APS further writes.

The situation is reversed in the Italian-language newspapers: There, 58 pro-ads are compared with 9 contra-ads. The second upcoming referendum proposal, the Financial Regulation 2021, has hardly been advertised so far, the APS communiqué continues. (SDA)


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