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Majority back scrapping TV licence fee at referendum

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Majority back scrapping TV licence fee at referendum
RTS is part of the SRG-SSR. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
10:48 CET+01:00
A majority of Swiss want to see the TV licence fee scrapped when the proposal comes to a referendum next March.

Two separate surveys conducted earlier this month showed supporters of the ‘No Billag’ initiative ahead with just over two months to go until the vote.

Billag is the name given to the licence fee that funds the public Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SRG-SSR) as well as private local radio and TV stations.

All households are legally obligated to pay the fee of 451 francs a year that finances broadcasting in Switzerland’s four language regions.

Opponents of the initiative are concerned that scrapping the licence fee could spell the end of public broadcasting in Switzerland.

According to a poll published by two Sunday papers, Le Matin Dimanche and SonntagsZeitung, 56.6 percent of those surveyed favoured scrapping the licence fee for TV and radio.

However, it also found that more than 60 percent of people were satisfied with the programmes provided by the public broadcaster.

The survey of 1,264 people aged 18 to 75 was conducted online between December 7th and 18th.

The voting trend is backed up by a survey conducted for the 20 Minuten newspaper, which found a slender majority of 51 percent in favour of scrapping the public fee.

According to the weighted poll of 21,540 people between December 13th and 14th, 45 percent planned to vote no to the initiative.

It found regional differences in voting intentions, with 52 percent in the German-language area backing the initiative, as compared with 47 percent and 46 percent respectively in the French and Italian areas.

Men were more in favour of abolishing the licence fee than women.

Three out of four supporters of the rightwing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) backed the abolition, with two out of three Social Democratic Party (SP) supporters opposed. 

The government has announced plans to lower the licence fee to 365 francs a year from 2019.

 

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