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Satirists under fire for not telling both sides of the story

The Swiss Press Council says the media must give civil servants a right of reply, before articles go to press. The announcement comes after a newspaper published a scathing satirical article, but failed to make contact in advance with those named.

The press council said satirists must abide by normal journalistic rules on ethical conduct.

The statement follows the publication of a satirical column in "le Quotidien jurassien", a newspaper in canton Jura, which suggested that one of the cantonal departments was riddled malpractice from top to bottom. The column called for the immediate dismissal of the office's head, accusing him of gross incompetence.

After publication, the authorities in canton Jura complained to the press council, claiming the article was a breach of journalistic ethics.

They said those named in the article should have been consulted ahead of publication. They also criticised the way the newspaper had used documents relating to an on-going inquiry.

The press council ruled that while the editors of the "Quotidien" were free to publish details of the enquiry in a satirical column, they had breached the ethical code by failing to make contact in advance with those named in the article.

swissinfo with agencies