swissinfo launches 2007 election platform
swissinfo is launching new multimedia and interactive elements aimed primarily at the Swiss Abroad in this election year.
The former swisspolitics site has been integrated into swissinfo and extended to complement the Election Special.
The federal parliamentary elections are the central theme of domestic politics this year.
swissinfo's election special differs from other Swiss media offers in that swissinfo has a mandate to provide information primarily to the Swiss Abroad.
"The domestic perspective is totally different from that of a Swiss living abroad. Two-thirds of Swiss Abroad are dual nationals; they know Switzerland well but some are remote from it in terms of geography," said swissinfo director Beat Witschi.
"There is a big information and understanding gap between Swiss living here, and Swiss living abroad. It's important that swissinfo closes this gap."
Therefore, detailed background information on Switzerland's political system and unique brand of direct democracy will complement correspondent reports, polls and political party surveys.
A new addition is a video window enabling members of Switzerland's expatriate community to have their say.
The swissinfo category, "Politics", has been divided into four sections; internal affairs, foreign affairs, elections and political system. For the time being, this new look is restricted to swissinfo's English, German, French and Italian sites, but will eventually be expanded to swissinfo's other five languages.
An election blog - not yet available in English - has been launched in German, French and Italian providing the Swiss Abroad a platform to debate issues important to them. The blog has been made possible through cooperation with the Swiss Abroad organisation.
During a second phase, a survey of Swiss politicians will enhance the election special. The aim is to give candidates the opportunity to present themselves and their views, and to answer questions from the Swiss Abroad.
Live chats at different times of the day with select candidates will be added in late August or early September.
The election blog allows swissinfo to enter into a dialogue with its target audience, thereby strengthening the interactivity of the website. This area, according to Witschi, is where swissinfo lags behind. "Due to political uncertainties, we were unable to develop the website as we would have liked," he explained.
"Our hands were tied because the very existence of swissinfo was under threat."
The current goal is to upgrade swissinfo so it meets international standards, which means more interactive elements such as blogs.
"Being in contact with an international audience forms the basis of swissinfo's mandate and can be fulfilled with the current tools at our disposal."
In other words, the election blog is just the beginning of further exciting developments at swissinfo.
swissinfo, Christian Schmid
The special in English, German, French and Italian includes the latest information on the election, background reports and analysis, information for the Swiss Abroad, animation and a video window.
An election blog (German, French, Italian) is a platform for the Swiss Abroad in cooperation with the Swiss Abroad organisation.
The category "Politics" has been divided into four sections; internal affairs, foreign affairs, elections and political system.
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