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Public broadcaster shaken by sexual harassment probe 

French-speaking RTS has been at the centre of the storm Keystone / Martial Trezzini

An investigation has confirmed cases of sexual harassment at French-language Swiss public radio and television, RTS. Two perpetrators have been sanctioned, it was revealed on Friday.

This content was published on April 16, 2021 - 13:01
Keystone-SDA/SRG/RTS/SWI swissinfo.ch/ilj

The wide-ranging probe was launched last year by RTS (and SWI swissinfo.ch’s) parent company the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) after allegations of long-term bullying and sexual harassment at RTS surfaced in the Swiss media. The article, published by Le Temps and based on anonymous sources, said that management had turned a blind eye.

Announcing the results of its probe on Friday, the SBC said in a statementExternal link that there had been harassment by two RTS employees and that sanctions had been imposed. No further details were given in the statement.

Former star television presenter Darius Rochebin, who has since left RTS to work in French television, was cleared of similar allegations made against him - which he had always denied.

Criticism, reaction

But there have been some consequences for RTS management: the head of RTS television and the firm’s HR chief have decided to leave the company, the statement said.

The SBC’s board of directors did however express their confidence in SRG head Gilles Marchand (the former RTS boss) and the present RTS boss Pascal Crittin. But the statement did say that Marchand had not “paid enough attention” to his “secondary oversight responsibilities” when RTS head. But the experts did not find any grave errors. No action needed to be taken in the case of Crittin, as the experts had not found any misconduct, the statement said.

The board expressed its “profound regret and apologised to those affected” by the harassment. It said that it had drawn up some extra measures to protect to integrity of employees based on the results of the investigation.

In reaction, media minister Simonetta Sommaruga said that she condemned all formsExternal link of discrimination, harassment and bullying.

The SRG should act as a role model: “I expect it to ensure that there is a trustworthy corporate culture and that it does everything in its power to avoid further cases,” she said in a tweet.

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