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Finance ministry backs swissinfo budget cuts

Government funding for swissinfo.ch would be cut as part of budget proposals for 2011-2013, the finance ministry has confirmed.

Financial subsidies to the multimedia internet portal swissinfo.ch would go as part of SFr525 million ($483 million) in savings planned for the environment, transport, energy and communication ministry. SFr130 million would be cut from the field of media.

The plans will have to be confirmed by the cabinet in June and would need to go before parliament.

The announcement on Thursday followed a special budget meeting by the cabinet, which is looking to shave SFr2.7 billion from Switzerland’s national budget as of 2015.

It is the second time in less than ten years that swissinfo.ch is facing potential financial cuts. Its budget was reduced to SFr26 million from SFr44 million and included job losses and the abolition of shortwave radio broadcasts.

Half of swissinfo.ch's funding from the government and half from the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), swissinfo.ch's parent company. SBC, the country’s largest media organisation, also announced on Thursday that 100 full-time jobs would go by 2014 across the board in order to save SFr17 million in 2011 and SFr33 million in 2014.

The cuts would affect staff in administration, marketing, finance, personnel and IT, but were expected to be phased over several years and include natural wastage.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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