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Imbalanced election coverage by RSI

Independent complaints authority for radio and television

Bern, 05/29/2020 - The Independent Complaints Authority for Radio and Television has approved a complaint against the reporting by RSI with regard to the last federal elections. The candidates from the small parties for the Council of States in the Canton of Ticino were insufficiently considered. The UBI, on the other hand, rejected a complaint against a contribution in the news magazine "10 vor 10" by SRF television to the investigation by the Federal Prosecutor's Office against a former FIFA Secretary General.

As part of today's deliberations in Bern, to which only those involved in the proceedings and media representatives were allowed due to the coronavirus, the UBI dealt with five complaints, all of which were directed against SRG programs.

In the run-up to the federal elections on October 20, 2019, RSI reported in numerous radio and television reports on parties and candidates from the canton of Ticino. A representative of the Lega Verde complained that the group had been disadvantaged compared to other parties. In its assessment, the UBI found that only six out of nine candidates were presented in the contributions to the Council of States elections. The three candidates from two small parties were not mentioned at all. This represents a violation of the principle of diversity, which makes special demands on balance before elections to ensure equal opportunities. The UBI therefore unanimously approved the complaint.

The most controversial discussions in the context of today's deliberations sparked a complaint against the "10 to 10" contribution by SRF television from June 6, 2019 to the investigation by the Federal Prosecutor's Office against a former Secretary General of the world football association Fifa. This criticized the contribution in his complaint as being tendentious, sensational, irrelevant and wrong in terms of content in various respects. During the consultation it was expressed that the summary of the facts on which the investigation was based had deficiencies. In the second part, however, there was a correct presentation of the accusations made by the Federal Prosecutor's Office against the former Fifa General Secretary. The editorial team conveyed his point of view at the end of the article. A majority of the UBI therefore did not consider the requirement of appropriateness to be violated despite the deficiencies found. In the vote, the complaint was rejected with five to three votes.

A multi-part article in the news magazine "10 vor 10" from October 17, 2019 on care costs incurred in old age was also the subject of a complaint. It complained that the situation of the women affected was not adequately expressed. Free care provided by women is not mentioned. In the consultation, however, it was pointed out that this fact was recognizable to the public. In addition, the actual topic of the article was that heirs can now also be prosecuted for supplementary benefits received from the testator. Since the information provided was appropriate, the UBI unanimously rejected the complaint.

On October 8, 2019, the international format "#SRFglobal" from television SRF showed an approximately eight-hour special edition with four films on the "awakening of young people" in the Middle East, Iran and France. The popular complaint raised against it was directed against the introductory discussion before the Palestinian feature film "Omar". This was unilaterally to the detriment of Israel and essential facts about the Israeli wall and protection system were presented inappropriately. In the consultation, however, the special focus of this film night was pointed out, in which the rebellion of young people was the subject. The special correspondent also presented the different views on the wall and protection system and in particular the Israeli point of view in a differentiated way. The UBI therefore unanimously came to the conclusion that the contribution did not violate either the requirement of fairness or the prohibition of discrimination.

The UBI also unanimously rejected the complaint against a multi-part contribution on the development and status of independent patient counseling in Switzerland that was broadcast on November 4, 2019 as part of the SRF health magazine "Puls". The genesis of the first patient position, which is not precisely presented, did not constitute a violation of program rights.

The UBI is an extra-parliamentary commission of the federal government, which is chaired by the lawyer and communications consultant Mascha Santschi Kallay. It consists of nine part-time members and a three-person secretariat. In response to a complaint, the UBI must determine whether radio and television programs broadcast by Swiss program organizers or publications from the other journalistic offerings of the SRG have violated provisions of radio and television law or whether there has been an unlawful refusal of access to the program or to a publication. Decisions of the UBI can be appealed to the Federal Supreme Court after the written reasons for the decision are available.

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Independent complaints authority for radio and television