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7.2.3. Legal measures

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Legally there could be changes brought by the government as well. Radio and television are subject to regulations and the same process could be applied to newspapers and new media as well. With regulations the role of the media could be defined more clearly and allow repercussions if they do not follow them.

At least the task description would be clear and newspapers and new media would have a line to follow. Those regulations should not apply to contents though. In the same pattern of modifications the state could help to the transfer of newspapers on the Internet. As its role will be always larger in the media landscape the government should find measures that help the media shift to the Internet. It could be through infrastructure changes or through guidelines that are facilitating. The problematic of the copyright should be analyzed by the government as well. One of the changes in the numeric age is that contents are easily copied and transferred further. The consequence of that copying is that the contents of the authors lose their value and this should be avoided at all costs. Therefore if the state regulates that aspect it could help newspapers because copyright is a very valuable asset to them.

Changes could be brought to the work conditions of the journalists as well. In the German and Italian parts of Switzerland there are not any collective work convention that are in place. It is the case in French Switzerland though. The consequences are that the work conditions of the journalists are not very good, in particular for the freelance ones. The government could try to convince editors to put measures in place to ameliorate those work conditions in exchange for better fiscal conditions. This could help motivate more people to try a career in journalism as well as prevent the flight of many journalists to other work sectors like communication in particular. The government could have an eye on the work of the journalists as well. In a time where information is as fast as it is now special attention should be brought to the verification of the data transmitted to the public. The politician Martine Brunschwig-Graf gave a great illustration of the importance of that proofing. During a vote at the state council a journalist put the result of the vote online before it even was terminated. The problem was that these results that were online turned out to be wrong. It created a lot of problems and bad repercussions not only for the media but for the council because they had to explain what happened and that the information that was published was wrong. Such an example is not an isolated case either. The government could provide help by penalizing media entities and journalists that permit such ambiguities to happen.

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