Economic pressure on print media
Switzerland continues to enjoy an impressive level of press freedom but, as a result of an increase in ownership concentration linked to the digital revolution, the situation of the print media is worrying. The collapse of the traditional newspaper business model – in a country with many newspapers but a small number of readers – has set off a wave of layoffs and cost-cutting. The national news agency ATS has suffered drastic restructuring, and the French-language daily Le Matin had to abandon its paper edition in the summer of 2018 and lay off many employees. But, in a promising parallel development, several new media outlets publishing solely online have emerged in recent years. They include Republik in Zurich and Bon pour la tête in Lausanne, and Heidi.news is due to be launched soon in Geneva. Their focus is on quality journalism, which the Swiss still appreciate. Voters demonstrated this in a March 2018 referendum, overwhelmingly rejecting a proposal to abolish the TV licence fee, which in effect would have meant the end of public broadcasting. An electronic media bill drafted by the government was immediately greeted with a great deal of criticism and seems to have little chance of being adopted.The authorities are being very restrictive in their implementation of a law giving all citizens the right to receive copies of public administration internal documents – a right that is vital for investigative and data journalism. Journalists, especially the journalists’ organization “Transparency Law” (Loitransparence.ch / Öffentlichkeitsgesetz.ch), have responded by demanding more transparency from the authorities.
5 in 2018
11.27 in 2018