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Radio and television legislation
The activities of SRG SSR are based on Article 93 of the Swiss Federal Constitution of 18 April 1999, the Radio and Television Act (RTVA) of 1 April 2007, the Radio and Television Ordinance (RTVO) of 1 April 2007, and the SRG SSR charter of 1 January 2008.
Swiss Federal Constitution
Article 93 of the Swiss Federal Constitution states that legislation regarding radio and television is a federal government matter. Radio and television should make a contribution to education and cultural development, free opinion forming and entertainment. They must take the country’s particular characteristics and the needs of the cantons into consideration, present events factually and reflect the full diversity of views. The Constitution also guarantees the independence from state influence of radio and television, as well as their autonomy with regard to service content. In addition, the Constitution provides for an expert supervisory complaints board which is independent of both the authorities and parliament.
Radio and Television Act, Radio and Television Ordinance
The RTVA and RTVO state that SRG SSR must be structured in a way that guarantees its autonomy and impartiality, that enables it to be managed cost-effectively and coordinated and administered on a national level, that takes into account the concerns of the different language regions, that sees the audience represented within the organisation, and that ensures it can be managed in accordance with the principles of the law on public limited companies.
Anyone wishing to receive radio and television services must pay a licence fee, the level of which is determined by the Federal Council. In setting the licence fee, the Federal Council takes the following into account:
- The funding needed for SRG SSR services and its other news and information offerings
- Support for the services covered by SRG SSR’s charter
- Tasks related to the actual levying of the licence fee, as well as the enforcement of reporting and payment
- Support for the foundation for audience research
- The construction of transmitter networks as new technologies are launched.
The charter lays down the remit which SRG SSR must fulfil across all its radio and television schedules and other news and information services:
With its radio services, SRG SSR offers:
- Three stations in each of the German, French and Italian language regions
- One Romansch-language station
- One modified service for each of the German and French language regions (a modified service has the same underlying nature as the station on which it is based, but has a distinctive soundtrack)
- One youth service for German-speaking Switzerland
- One music station for classical music, one for jazz, and one for pop
- One German-language news and current affairs station
- One national English-language station
With its television services, SRG SSR offers:
- Two HDTV channels in each of the German, French and Italian language regions
- Programming for the Romansch language region
- One German-language repeats channel
- One channel in each of German, French and Italian, providing continuously updated information and schedule notes via the internet
SRG SSR online services comprise:
- Multimedia features tying in with specific channels and stations
- Background and context information about programmes
- Basic briefings in connection with educational programmes
- Audience forums and games connected with specific programmes
- A multilingual international online service
The charter also states that SRG SSR must contribute to the following with its radio and television services and other news and information offerings:
- Free opinion forming among its audience with comprehensive, varied and accurate information, in particular with regard to political, economic and social relations
- Cultural development and strengthening the nation’s cultural heritage, as well as the promotion of the Swiss arts scene, taking particular account of Swiss literature, Swiss music and Swiss film
- Educating the audience, specifically by regularly broadcasting programmes with an educational content
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