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3.4. Significance of the press in Switzerland for the politics

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The traditional press is important for the political world in Switzerland as well. As described in section 3.3 the political system of Switzerland is very particular in the world. It is one of the most unique and it demands a lot of implication from the people of the country. Additionally Switzerland presents a unique character because within the country there are a lot of different cultures, four official languages as well as multiple official religions. So because of these factors it becomes really important to have a press that not only covers well all the political issues that are at stake but the press should present the facts in a neutral manner so the diversity presented above between citizens is not a factor when it comes to politics. There is a big difference in how the press is politically involved in Switzerland in comparison to other countries. For instance in France most newspapers are politically tainted. Le Monde, Humanité or Libération represent the left, and l‟Express, Le Figaro or Le Point tend to the right. In France newspapers are tools of the politics. In Switzerland there is a difference because most of them do not have an influence one way or another. They are rather the vehicle for the report of the political world. Their task is to show the political events under a light that is neutral and understandable for everyone, whatever his language, culture or religion is.

Of course journalists can have opinions on subjects and express them, but it remains important for newspapers to report accurately in this particular political system that is in place in Switzerland.

In order to illustrate how politicians themselves see the role of the press, the national councilor Hans-Jürg Fehr shares in the following text his ideas on the subject:

“The importance of the traditional press for the citizens of Switzerland was illustrated by the conflict that happened in the Basler Zeitung. A lot of newspapers have been deeply attached to their region for many decades and they even belong to their identity. This is why they are called Bündner Tagblatt, Aargauer Zeitung or Schaffhauser Nachrichten. This anchoring does not only come from tradition but has concrete reasons in the present time. The contents of such newspapers are very regional, not only in the editorial part but in the advertisement part as well. That type of information is neither from traditional electronic media nor from online media treated. Therefore are newspapers exclusive to a large degree. A second reason for the relevance of newspapers lies in their trustworthiness. A lot of studies show that for voters in Switzerland newspapers are the most reliable source of information of all types of media and that they are the most important in the forming of the public opinion. However that role depends directly from the quality of the offered contents and in the last few months it seems that the quality of newspapers is endangered. A third reason for the importance of the newspapers is that they are the preferred media fort the medium and older generations, who occupy the majority of the positions in the political world of Switzerland. Hence it cannot be excluded that in the future the online media will have more importance and that newspapers may even disappear. But for that to happen the online media has to improve a lot in terms of quality.” Hans-Jürg Fehr

Hans-Jürg Fehr was the ideal candidate to give his opinion on the subject, because he has a big role in the political world of the country and he is a journalist as well. He was the president of the socialist party of Switzerland for four years and he writes for the newspaper Schaffhauser Nachrichten.

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