On 4 March 2018, the Swiss electorate voted on the Popular Initiative "Say yes to abolishing radio and television fees (Abolition of Billag fees)".
The main points in brief
In Switzerland, a radio and television fee is levied so that all the different language regions get suitable coverage of politics, economics, culture and sport. The Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SRG), local radios and regional TV all benefit from the fee revenue, with which they finance the production of their programmes and so provide their services to the public. In Switzerland it is not possible to provide a broad range of high quality programmes with advertising and sponsorship alone.
What is the aim of the initiative?
The aim is to abolish the radio and television reception fee. The Confederation should not subsidise radio and television stations, should not run its own channels in peace time and should regularly auction broadcaster licences. The initiative committee criticises the fact that the fee benefits the SRG to the detriment of private broadcasters. Abolishing the reception fee would create fairer competition.
Federal Council's and Parliament's viewpoint
A varied media offering is very important in Switzerland, owing to its system of direct democracy and multilingualism. The SRG, local radios and public regional TV ensure that all the different parts of the country get the same quality of reporting. The initiative threatens the very existence of these broadcasters.
Switching to a system of solely commercial funding will also mean that only programmes that yield a profit will be produced. Many programmes, in particular those about major issues in society and politics, will disappear, to the detriment of
media diversity and opinion-formation.
Last modification 04.03.2018