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2.5. Public opinion and media in Switzerland

Non classé

Historically the media have always been important in the forming of the public opinion in Switzerland and the rest of the world. People can have an opinion on a subject when they have knowledge on certain situations and their implications. This knowledge is mostly acquired through the media. This is why it is crucial that the media presents the facts conscientiously and brings up all the points of views necessary to have an information that is as objective as possible.

The problem nowadays is that the media is subject to the rules of the market. Without advertising they lose a part of their financing they cannot live without. And in order to sell advertising in your media you have to have audience. This leads sometimes to the transformation of the information. The journalists present only certain subjects, those that are going to sell. They present in a more sensationalist way all the information that is going to be liked and draw interest by the general public.

There is less objectivity in the way private channels convey the information in many countries and in particular in the United States where news have become primarily a show on many networks. In Switzerland the problem is not as flagrant because Swiss channels have to follow certain rules dictated by the law, as stated in article 4, indent 2 of the federal law on radio and television: “The editorial programs which contents are informative must present the events true to the facts and allow the public to create its own opinion. Personal opinions and commentaries must be identified as such”14. That loss of objectivity should be carefully examined though. It is in fact terrible for the forming of the public opinion. The media has to be a solid and reliable source of information. If not all opinions will be biased and all that will matter will be what the journalists chose. In a country like Switzerland this has to be an important issue.

In the following pages, the importance of the traditional press for this particular subject will be discussed and its role will be analyzed.

14 Article 4, indent 2 :

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