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The Invisible Scissors

Media Freedom and Censorship in Switzerland

Marc Höchli

A watchdog, a genuine fourth estate working in the service of a free and liberal democracy, diverse and discursive: this is what we expect of the media. This is how most of the media present themselves: altruistic, serving the interests of res publica and public opinion and promoting democratic discourse. And this is how most Swiss people see their media.
Yet, does the shining image correspond to reality? Or are the much-praised journalistic Elysium of Switzerland and the diversity and quality of the Swiss media tarnished? And to what extent is freedom of the media guaranteed?
This research into the mass media of Switzerland highlights the current threats to the freedom of the media and identifies the scissors of censorship. It scrutinizes the power of advertising, the battle for market share, the infiltration of PR agencies into editorial offices, the quality of journalistic training, self-censorship and infotainment as the supreme credo. The findings show that freedom of the media in Switzerland is severely jeopardised.

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19 Appendices 307

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307 19 Appendices 19.1 Appendix 1: Facts and Figures about Switzerland 2006 Population 7,459,000 Languages German 64 per cent French 20 per cent Italienisch 6.5 per cent Romansch 0.5 per cent No. of households 3,180,000 Income per capita 39,041 CHF (24,400 ) Households with TV 93.6 per cent Households with radio 98.8 per cent Cable connection 84 per cent Source: Swiss Federal Statistical Office, March 2007, www.bfs.admin.ch Media Desk Suisse, March 2007. www.mediadesk.ch 308 19.2 Appendix 2: Composition of the Swiss Federal Assembly 1 January 1992 / 44th Legislation period National Council Council of States Total Radical Democrats (Freisinnig-demokratische Fraktion) 44 18 62 Christian Democrats (Christlichdemokratische Fraktion) 37 16 53 Social Democrats (Sozialdemokratische Fraktion) 43 3 46 Swiss People’s Party (Schweizerische Volkspartei) 25 4 29 Alliance Evangelical People’s Party LdU/EVP (LdU/EVP-Fraktion) 9 1 10 Liberal Party (Liberale Fraktion) 10 3 13 Green Party (Grüne Fraktion) 14 0 14 Automobilist Party (Fraktion der Autopartei) 8 0 8 Swiss Democrats/Ticino League (Schweizer Demokraten/Lega) 7 1 8 Independent (ohne Fraktionszugehörigkeit) 3 0 3 Total 200 46 246 1 January1996 / 45th Legislation period National Council Council of States Total Radical Democrats (Freisinnig-demokratische Fraktion) 45 17 62 Christian Democrats (Christlichdemokratische Fraktion) 34 16 50 Social Democrats (Sozialdemokratische Fraktion) 58 5 63 Swiss People’s Party (Schweizerische Volkspartei) 29 5 34 309 Alliance Evangelical People’s Party LdU/EVP (LdU/EVP-Fraktion) 5 1 6 Liberal Party (Liberale Fraktion) 7 2 9 Green Party (Grüne Fraktion) 10 0 10 Automobilist Party (Fraktion...

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