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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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SWITZERLAND

Today in Switzerland: A round-up of the latest news on Wednesday

Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Today in Switzerland: A round-up of the latest news on Wednesday
Tne epidemiological situation is improving thanks in part to vaccinations. Photo by Philippe LOPEZ / AFP

The pandemic in Switzerland is diminishing, experts say

“The epidemiological situation is reassuring”, Virginie Masserey, head of the infection control section at the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), said at a press conference.

She added that over the past two weeks, “there has been a stabilisation of new infections and hospitalisations, which does not contradict the decision to allow cautious re-openings” of the economy.

Masserey attributed the improving situation to factors such as vaccination, more time spent outdoors, and more tests, which help control the spread of the virus. “But there is no guarantee that it will continue like this,” she warned.

Hundreds of Canadian nurses could lose their Swiss jobs 

For years, Vaud hospitals have been employing nurses from Quebec, as there is shortage of Swiss-trained nursing staff.

However, from August 1st, 2021 their Canadian diplomas will no longer be recognised in Switzerland, as the training they received is less extensive :  2,500 hours in Canada, against 5,500 in Switzerland.

For this reason, these nurses will lose their status and will be relegated to community health aides instead, unless cantonal authorities modify the rules.

At least one MP sides with the nurses.

“It’s a simple question of consistency: we cannot recruit qualified foreign workers and then expel them from our labour market for no valid reason”, said Vaud councillor Jean- François Chapuisat.

Enough signatures collected for same-sex marriage referendum

The Federal Chancellery said that opponents of the same-marriage law had collected 61,027 valid signatures to bring the issue to a vote — more than the 50,000 required to launch a referendum.

On December 2020, Swiss parliament approved same-sex marriage, but conservative groups like the Swiss People’s Party and the Federal Democratic Union vowed to repeal the legislation, arguing that marriage “must remain the natural union of a man and a woman”.

The date of the referendum has not yet been set

READ MORE: Switzerland to hold same-sex marriage referendum

Village cannon under fire in Solothurn

A weapons collector from Günsberg filed a request with the Village Construction Commission to install a functioning cannon on his property.  His neighbours and local parish are up in arms over this idea.

“A cannon in the middle of the village looks very threatening”, said one resident, who added that she’d have to walk by the weapon on her way to get her mail or do her shopping.

The local parish also shot down this idea, arguing that the presence of a cannon in the village would “convey a negative image”.

The collector responded that if he can’t install the cannon in front of his house, “it will have to stay on a trailer, 15 metres away”.

Or, he can just get a garden gnome.

If you have any questions about life in Switzerland, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local, please get in touch with us at [email protected]

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