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SWI wins IBC’s Social Impact Award

Zwei Frauen auf einer Bühne
Jo Fahy (left), Head of Multimedia, accepts the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) Award in Amsterdam on behalf of SWI ZVG

SWI has been awarded the Social Impact Award by the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) for its data-based promotion of inclusive language in a ten-language digital newsroom.

Since 2022, SWI, the international, ten-language service of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), has consistently dispensed with the use of the generic masculine. The use of inclusive language is evaluated periodically; all published texts and photos are also evaluated with the aim of achieving gender balance. SWI is guided by the BBC’s “50:50 Equality Project”, which was launched in 2017.

The International Broadcasting Convention IBC has presented SWI with the Social Impact Award in the Diversity and Inclusion category for its commitment in this area. The award ceremony took place on September 17 in Amsterdam, for the 56th edition of the media, entertainment and technology industry trade fair.

“Reporting on Switzerland is not feasible without diversity”

“This award makes me really happy, it’s recognition for the years of hard work we put into this project,” says Jo Fahy, Head of Multimedia at SWI “It’s a project that has required a lot of willingness to adapt from our multilingual and multicultural teams.”

Director Larissa M. Bieler sees the use and promotion of inclusive language as a duty for all media organisations, in which the public service media should play a key role: “As an international media house, we share in the responsibility in how the media approaches diversity in their language. Our job is to report on society as a whole. For Switzerland, this is not feasible without diversity.”

Counteracting stereotyping and underrepresentation

Media content and language has an impact on society, including on thought patterns and behaviour. Inclusive language means more than just “gendering”. Without this awareness through inclusive language, population groups are made invisible, are underrepresented or distorted. This can lead to stereotyping, racism and discrimination.

Globally, women are still strongly underrepresented in media reporting. Gender ratio of men to women is 80% to 20%. For Switzerland, the average representation of women is measured at around 23% (Fög/IKMZ, 2021), with quotas varying by topic and media publication.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR