A petition calling for a reduction of about 50 percent of the annual Swiss TV and radio fees has been delivered to the government, reports said.

 

"/> A petition calling for a reduction of about 50 percent of the annual Swiss TV and radio fees has been delivered to the government, reports said.

 

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‘Halve TV licence fee’: petition

 

A petition calling for a reduction of about 50 percent of the annual Swiss TV and radio fees has been delivered to the government, reports said.

 

The initiative, backed by the Swiss People’s Party, is calling for the licence fees to amount to a maximum of 200 francs ($225) per year, almost half of what they are now, said a report on the daily 20 Minuten. Signatures were collected mainly online.

The petition, which is not binding on the government, also argues that the fee should not be mandatory for households or businesses that do not own a television or a radio.

The move is aimed at putting pressure on the Swiss parliament to cut the fees for the publicly-owned Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SRG SSR). In a statement, the media company said it provides services on behalf of the general public, adding that it is a non-profit organisation, existing “exclusively to fulfill a public service remit.” 

Most of SRG SSR’s budget is provided by licence fee income, followed by sponsorship, advertising revenues and other commercial income, the company said. 

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How media diversity is shrinking in Switzerland

The Swiss media landscape is becoming more concentrated than ever, a new study has found, leading to concerns about media diversity.

How media diversity is shrinking in Switzerland
Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

The main reason for this trend is the influence of social media. In the German-speaking regions of Switzerland, media concentration reached 83 percent in 2018, while the corresponding amount in French-speaking Switzerland was 89 percent. 

Media concentration is measured by looking at diversity of sources at an editorial level. 

Social media

The research, which was completed by the Fög Institute at the University of Zurich, found that the importance of Google and Facebook in linking readers to news was strong and growing stronger. 

The study found that one major result of increased social media integration with news was that there were fewer possibilities for news to be checked, leading to the spread of fake news and misinformation.

The impact of the shift can be seen with regard to advertising revenue. With Google currently taking two thirds (67 percent) of all online advertising in Switzerland, the entire Swiss online media market earns less than the American tech giant. 

Respondents to the report said that they ‘often’ or ‘very often’ used Google as their primary news source. 

Subscriptions to newspapers in Switzerland is also on the decrease, shrinking from 56 percent to 32 percent in the space of ten years. 

Only 11 percent of respondents indicated that they subscribed to a news service. 

All the news that’s fit to print?

The research showed that drinking coffee while reading over the morning paper is decreasing. 

Almost two-thirds – 63 percent – of respondents said they consumed news ‘on the run’, while 39 percent said they preferred entertainment to news and only kept one eye on the day’s events at best. 

Traditional outlets remain more trustworthy

When asked which platforms were the most trustworthy when it came to providing the news, just under half (47 percent) said traditional sources were the most trustworthy. 

A total of 29 percent preferred search engines, while 17 percent said social media was the most trustworthy platform from which to procure the news. 

Younger people are the most clued into the risks of social media, with 62 percent saying they are suspicious of news which appears on social networks.

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