Switzerland's image abroad in 2020
Bern, 21.12.2020 - In 2020, Switzerland drew less attention from foreign media than in the previous year. Media coverage focused on fewer topics, in particular Switzerland's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the debate about the Office of the Attorney General. Switzerland continues to enjoy a high reputation internationally. In the Nation Brands Index (NBI), which compares the public image of 50 countries, Switzerland achieved a very good seventh place. As in previous years, 'brand' Switzerland once again featured in foreign films and series.
An analysis of Switzerland's image abroad conducted by Presence Switzerland, which is part of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), shows that in 2020 Switzerland received significantly less coverage from the foreign media than in previous years. Attention focused particularly on the COVID-19 pandemic. The image conveyed of Switzerland in this respect underwent marked fluctuations. During the first wave, the foreign media rated Switzerland's handling of the pandemic in predominantly positive terms. The measures to support the Swiss economy and the efficient approach adopted to grant liquidity loans to Swiss companies were especially singled out for praise. During the second wave, Switzerland mainly drew media attention in neighbouring countries, which criticised measures that were thought to fall short, including allowing the skiing resorts to open.
Apart from the COVID-19 pandemic, there was much critical coverage in the foreign of matters relating to the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland. The focus here was on issues relating to international football and the resignation of Attorney General Michael Lauber. As in previous years, the meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos generated the greatest short-term media response to an individual event. Recurring topics were the Swiss financial centre and a number of popular votes, especially on the Limitation Initiative for moderate immigration and the Corporate Responsibility Initiative. The cryptoleaks scandal also drew media attention.
As in previous years, Switzerland once again featured in films and TV series, where the country was depicted as a dream location with beautiful mountain landscapes. These included the South Korean TV series 'Crash Landing on You' and the lavishly produced Indian feature film 'Switzerland', to be released at the end of this year.
The public perception of Switzerland abroad remains largely positive and stable. In seventh place out of a possible 50 positions, it is the best-ranked medium-sized country in the 2020 Nation Brands Index, which compares the image of 50 countries. Particularly noteworthy is the excellent reputation of Switzerland's governance and quality of life.
"It is still too early to definitively conclude what impact the COVID-19 pandemic will have on Switzerland's image. This will doubtless also depend on how well Switzerland is ultimately perceived to have managed the crisis in health, economic and social terms," says Ambassador Nicolas Bideau, Head of Presence Switzerland.
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