The Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), swissinfo.ch’s parent company, must invest half of future TV-radio licence fee money in news and information activities and clearly distinguish itself from commercial rivals, a new government proposal has declared.
On Tuesday, Communications Minister Doris Leuthard presented her draft proposal for a new licence for the Swiss public broadcasting service for the 2019-2022 period. The project has been opened for consultation among interested stakeholders until April 12, 2018.
“The text strengthens the foundations of the SBC’s public service mandate in all areas, from information and culture to education, entertainment and sport,” the Federal Department of Communications said in a statementexternal link.
The draft proposal stipulates that 50% of licence fee money must be spent on news and information. It outlines ‘high requirements for content quality’ and calls for a more clearly defined programming in entertainment compared to commercial rivals.
The statement said SBC must intensify efforts towards fostering integration and ensure that its programmes target young people more effectively. It calls for better communication with the public and regular reporting on programme strategies. In the areas of sport and entertainment, the SBC is urged to work more closely with other Swiss broadcasters.
The consultation takes place as the Swiss prepare to take part in a binding vote on March 4 for the so-called "No Billag" initiative, which proposes to abolish the radio and television licence fee.
The SBCexternal link is funded by licence fees (75%) and income from advertising (25%). It has an annual turnover of CHF1.6 billion which is mainly used to operate 17 radio and television channels in four national languages (German, French, Italian and Romansh). Part of the revenue also goes towards private radio and TV stations for their role providing a public service, as well as the swissinfo, SBC’s online international service in ten languages.