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SWI recognised at quality journalism awards

An editorial meeting at SWI Ester Unterfinger/

SWI has won a prize in the “science and environment” category of an annual award organised by Swiss magazine Private.

In a statement on Thursday, the jury at the prize said that “swissinfo has played an important role for many years in promoting our democracy and societal cohesion”.

The daily, 10-language reporting of SWI on Swiss politics, economics, science, culture and society helps to give visibility to Switzerland in the world, said SWI Director Larissa Bieler.

“If Switzerland wants to be seen and understood in a globalised and digital world, it needs a source of comprehensive and comparative reporting about and from Switzerland,” she said.

The value of SWI was once described by the Neue Zürcher Zeitung newspaper as a “weapon of soft power” which no other media was able to offer.

Promoting quality

The awards ceremony took place in Zurich on May 24. Organisers said that some 400 journalists had been nominated across six categories.

The competition bills itself as “the biggest and most renowned international award for quality journalism in Switzerland and Europe”. It is organised by the Private magazine, which is focussed on economic and financial issues. The president of the jury is Franz Fischlin, a former news anchor on Swiss public television, SRF, and co-president of the “Quality in Journalism” association.

The purpose of the award is to support, promote and recognise outstanding journalistic achievement, organisers say. The total prize money available is up to CHF50,000 ($55,370). The award given to SWI for its overall work comes without a financial component.

Imagine a news portal which publishes information in not one but ten languages, drafting almost all of its articles not only in German, but also in French, Italian, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, Arabic and Japanese. And which builds its features using text, images, audio and video. Such a media organisation exists – it’s called SWI swissinfo.

SWI is the international online service of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). It was founded in 1999 as a successor organisation to Swiss Radio International (SRI), which had been created in 1935 as the Swiss shortwave service. During the Second World War, SRI was the only connection to home for many of the 200,000 Swiss living abroad at the time.

According to an agreement with Swiss federal authorities, SWI publishes independent and detailed reports about Swiss politics, economics, science, culture, and society, for an international audience interested in Switzerland. In particular, the site helps Swiss citizens abroad to form their opinion ahead of votes and elections back home; in doing so it strengthens their connection to Switzerland.

SWI places a special focus on direct democracy, foreign policy, cutting-edge research, multinational companies, and developments in international Geneva. Reporting from a Swiss perspective is key, so that facts and discussions about Switzerland and from Switzerland are understood internationally. SWI also provides analyses of important international events, and reaches a highly diverse audience – both linguistically and culturally – around the world.

SWI’s reporting illustrates the diversity of opinion and culture within Switzerland, and is not tied to political or economic interests. Half of its financing comes from licence fee payments, and half from federal funding.

This is undoubtedly well-invested money. For years, SWI has played an important role in promoting our democracy and fostering cohesion in our society. A role for which it deserves to be recognised with a special prize for its overall body of work. 

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR