No Billag Initiative - Pros and Cons

Broadcast on: 
27 February, 2018

Our topic this week is the No Billag Initiative, which will come to a vote on March 4th. Billag is the company that has up to now been collecting the licence fees for TV and radio stations around Switzerland. The initiative wants to get rid of licence fees altogether and instead regularly auction them off. We sat down with a representative of each side to ask them why they were against and for the initiative, respectively.

For Sandie Collins from Operation Libero, the initiators "take my right to independent and well-balanced information out of the [Swiss] constitution. The initiators say it's not needed to have that in the constitution when you don't have the licence fee anymore, but I have a different opinion. In a direct democracy, it is important to have independent information - because what happens when the richest person decides what my information is going to be? The second important thing for me is the solidarity with the four linguistic regions and people with impaired vision or hearing. The free market can't give them information because it's not profitable enough." And: "In my opinion, there's a difference between relevant content and profitable content. Sometimes it's more important what's relevant than what's profitable." Listen to the full interview here.

Luca Urgese from the No Billag Initiative Committee is in favour of the initiative "because media diversity is important for me. [...] To keep media diversity, we think it's time to change the system of how we finance our media." And: "Today it's the case that you watch or listen to a small part of the whole [media landscape] offer, but have to pay for everything." He says that people have been waiting for years for a discussion about what 'public service' means and what it should encompass. "If this initiative gets approved, we have the possibility to see how the commercial market works and to discuss what doesn't work commercially and to discuss, in the normal political process, what we want to finance together and what [we don't want to finance]." Listen to the full interview here.

This is team member Emma Littlejohn's last English Show before she heads off to new adventures. We will miss her very much! Emma chose some of her favorite tunes ever - so today we played:

The Beatles - While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Linkin Park - Numb

The Kooks - Naive

Spinal Tap - Stonehenge

Bob Dylan - Don't Think Twice, It's Alright

Dermot Kennedy - A Closeness

Manchester Orchestra - Top Notch

Baroness - Cocainium

Foy Vance - She Burns

Pink Floyd - Money