Report says public media must reform
A federal report concludes that the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) must keep evolving to adapt to the digital revolution overtaking all media.
The report, prepared at the request of parliament and adopted by the government on Friday, comes in the wake of pressure from right-wing politicians to scale back the mandate of the public service media.
The cabinet this month approved a new mandate for swissinfo.ch, an international online service of the SBC, for a four-year period starting from January 1, 2017.
In a statement, the cabinet said it would contribute nearly CHF20 million ($20.2 million) annually – or CHF1.6 million less than it does currently – to continue to co-finance swissinfo.ch, as well as tvsvizzera.it, TV5Monde and 3sat, which all provide news and information for international audiences.
For the first time, the mandate for swissinfo.ch explicitly requires the service to offer relevant curated content from external sources and “citizen journalism” to more actively involve the public in content creation.
Regular coverage of issues about direct democracy and the integration of immigrants in Swiss society is also implicit in the mandate.
The report adopted Friday says the public media service must be information-oriented, multilingual, high quality and take account of all population groups, but that it also must continue to improve its offering for young people who mainly get information or connect through the Internet.
It also maintains a ban on online advertising for the next three to five years. However, the Cabinetl wants to update the laws for electronic media, beyond the current language for radio and television.
In a statement, the SBC said that the Cabinet considers it to be an organisation “willing to change, which continually evolves and has proven its value in the digital age”. The SBC has the know-how to “make a contribution in a time of fragmentation in the digital community”.
In the midst of upheaval in the media, said the SBC, the government report creates “the basis for a constructive, open discussion of what constitutes successful public service and how the public media company SBC will develop in the future.
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