Pandemic brings more threats against Swiss politicians  

Swiss parliamentarians have been getting more threats during the pandemic, especially online. Keystone / Peter Klaunzer

Hate speech and insults are on the rise in Switzerland, especially towards politicians, reports national broadcaster RTS. 

This content was published on February 5, 2021 - 11:04

The federal police received more than 1,200 reports of threats or insults against government members and federal parliamentarians last year, compared with only 250 in 2019. The majority of the threats were made on social media networks. 

“The coronavirus situation is hard for everyone and there is a tendency for people to express that dissatisfaction,” federal police spokeswoman Cathy Maret told RTS on Thursday evening.  

Federal police are taking new steps to try to counter this trend, including sending warning letters. “The aim of these letters is to calm things down,” said Maret. “People go online and the atmosphere is aggressive. They get het up and sometimes forget they are in a public space. If they get a warning letter, that often calms them down.” 

survey conducted for RTS in 2019, before the pandemic, found that almost 60% of Swiss politicians receive threats on a regular basis and over three-quarters are routinely insulted, with female politicians at greatest risk. 

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