The Broadcasting Expert Group (BREG) of the European Federation of Journalists sent the following letter to Swiss affiliates, impressum and syndicom, ahead of the “No Billag” vote to take place on the 4th of March 2018.
The Broadcasting Expert Group (BREG), one of the expert groups working for the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), is deeply concerned by the news from Switzerland, regarding the plans to scrap the licence fee in public service broadcasting, and the proposed prohibition of any kind of subsidies for the Swiss public service broadcasting sector.
If the law passes, we are informed it would lead to the direct loss of 4,500 jobs in the broadcasting sector, as well as of 13,500 indirect jobs in the media sector. Up to sixty public TV and radio channels would be closed down, minority and local channels being most at risk.
That is of course very bad news for the employment in the media sector in Switzerland, but also a disaster from a democratic and European perspective. Public service broadcasting has the mission to guarantee the right to information through news and children’s programs, education, documentaries and entertainment for all on equal terms, regardless of income or the minority you belong to. Its role is particularly important when it comes to strengthen quality information and journalism in the era of the so-called ‘fake news’ and social media prominence.
Therefore, BREG urges the Swiss voters to consider seriously the consequences of the “No Billag” initiative and its impact on the media landscape in Switzerland.
We express our firm solidarity with our Swiss colleagues.
Susanna Sjöstedt and John Barsby
Chairs of BREG
Credit photo: Radio RaBe