The Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), swissinfo.ch’s parent company, has announced plans to reduce the budget and staff at the online platform by one third.
swissinfo.ch, formerly Swiss Radio International, will continue to provide in-depth information about Swiss politics, economy, culture and society in nine languages. A tenth language, Russian, will be introduced in 2013.
One of the SBC’s five units, swissinfo.ch has fulfilled a federal government mandate to provide information in nine languages outside Switzerland through the internet for the past ten years.
As part of the cost-cutting programme swissinfo.ch’s annual budget will be reduced from SFr26 million ($31.3 million) to SFr17 million and the number of full time equivalent positions will be reduced from 126 to 86 by the end of 2012.
swissinfo.ch receives 50 per cent of its funding directly from the federal government and 50 per cent from the SBC.
The multimedia information platform will primarily target an international audience with an interest in Switzerland as well as continuing to cater for Swiss nationals living abroad.
According to a statement issued by the SBC, swissinfo.ch’s three national editorial departments for the Swiss official languages – German, French and Italian – will be combined into one new national editorial department and downsized.
When the next federal mandate comes through at the beginning of 2013, swissinfo.ch will be reporting in English, German, French, Italian, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish Portuguese and Russian.
Two thirds of the job cuts are due to be achieved through natural staff reductions, early retirement and transfers to other business units. A severance scheme will be in place for the remainder.