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3.3. Significance of the press in Switzerland for the public

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In order to understand further the traditional press it is fundamental to study its role in the Swiss society and its significance to the audience. Both aspects are particular in Switzerland in comparison to other countries in the world because of the political system that is in place in the confederation.

Switzerland is a democratic state with, at least in part, direct democracy. This system is called participative. This means that Swiss citizens have an important role to play. The major decisions have to be accepted by the people in order to be put in place by the government. Additionally every Swiss citizen has the right to submit constitutional initiatives and referendums, giving them a lot of power on the political world of the country. This enhanced role of the Swiss citizens has implications. They have to be informed well in order to be able to make up their minds and take an objective decision.

So the public can take decisions the traditional press plays a role that is irreplaceable in 2010 in the Swiss media landscape. As seen a few sections back, Switzerland is the country with the most newspapers titles pro inhabitant. This diversity enables to have multiple opinions on the subjects that are going to be voted. Each newspaper has its own political orientation and everyone can access those different points of view. And by having all these different opinions objectivity can be reached. It is fundamental to have objectivity when debating about a subject because otherwise people subjected to the vote will undoubtedly be influenced to one side or the other. Here the press has an advantage over the other major media in Switzerland. The major television and radio channels in Switzerland are financed by the government and hence this will play a role in the way they treat the information in their programs. Although the opinions of these journalists will sometimes go against those of the government this will not be norm and the influence of the power in place is undeniably present in the programs.

Another important aspect of the role that the press plays in Switzerland comes simply from its format. Since the majority of newspapers are edited during the whole day and then printed at night for the morning it allows having a certain detachment to the information. The journalist has time to go through multiple aspects and points of view on a particular subject. This is not always the case on television, radio or Internet. The format enables the journalists to analyze as well. This is vital in the media landscape. With the speed of the information it has become critical to take the time to analyze and dissect the information. In the print paper the space is there to do so. Other media can be able to analyze as well, but the format is much more convenient in the traditional press.

The reader then has time to read the analysis of the journalist and for a lot of people it is the best to fully understand what is at stake in a certain problematic.

A last aspect of the significance of the traditional press in Switzerland is its historic importance. In this country, the press has always been very rich and very present. There are a lot of readers and a lot of different titles. Swiss people read the press in a large amount of time compared to other media. Additionally the press has been present for more than 250 years in Switzerland and is a part of the culture.

The addition of all these arguments gives a clear indication. The traditional press in Switzerland is still in 2010 very important for the public and its democratic role is vital. The changes in the media landscape should not modify that state.

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