Very safe, but under economic pressure
On the whole, the political and legislative environment for the media in Switzerland favours press freedom and is very safe for journalists, but 2019 saw several lawsuits against journalists by politicians in Geneva and Lausanne. This is a new phenomenon and could fuel mistrust of the media in a country where media criticism of politicians, even very harsh criticism, has rarely resulted in lawsuits until now. A Geneva appeal court ruled against the newspaper Le Courrier in a libel suit brought by billionaire businessman Jean Claude Gandur. Le Courrier has appealed to a federal court but the case is proving to be very expensive for this small paper with limited resources.
Lawsuits of this kind can have a chilling effect on journalists, especially as the economic situation of the media has been a source of concern for years. Media outlets are continuing to close and media concentration is accelerating. The diversity of the Swiss media, traditionally high in comparison with other countries, has been badly hit by the turmoil in the media market resulting from the digital revolution. Its effects are particularly felt in Switzerland, a small, decentralized country with various linguistic regions that each constitute a distinct market for the media. The federal counsellor (minister) responsible for the media is due to propose measures to support the sector in 2020.
6 in 2019
10.52 in 2019