Communications Minister Doris Leuthard has made a strong case for media diversity in Switzerland to bolster the country’s democracy.
In a wide-ranging interviewexternal link on Monday with the Watson news platform and several regional newspapers, Leuthard said a dominant role for a single player in the media sector was not desirable.
“It must be the goal to secure diversity and quality in the media for democratic reasons,” she said.
Leuthard also expressed concern about mergers or reorganisations of many regional newspapers and cutbacks at the country’s only news agency.
“This reduces the possibility for citizens to read different viewpoints on an issue and form their own opinion,” she said.
New online magazine
She welcomed the official launch of a new online magazine after a crowdfunding campaign collected several million francs.
The German-language platform Republikexternal link has been funded by more than 14,000 subscribers and is based on a similar magazine in the Netherlands.
Asked about the current campaign ahead of a nationwide vote in March on scrapping the licence fee which funds the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), swissinfo.ch’s parent company, Leuthard said the media were generally covering the issue in fair manner.
However, she pointed out that a few things had been said that were simply not true and were set straight a few days later.
It was therefore important, she said, to counter these false allegations, notably by the director of the Association for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, a hardline promoter of the controversial initiative.