International Public Media Conference (IPMC) – what does the future of public media look like?

Media release 21.02.2019

On 4 March 2019, one year after the «No Billag» people’s initiative was rejected, the first International Public Media Conference (IPMC) will take place in Bern and opened by the new Minister of Communications, Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga. The conference is organised by Schweizerische Radio- und Fernsehgesellschaft (SRG SSR), the Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM), the Federal Media Commission (FMEC) and the Swiss Association of Communication and Media Research (SACMR). Over the course of one day, renowned speakers and other interested parties from Switzerland and abroad will discuss the future of audiovisual public media and their role in society.

International Public Media Conference (IPMC)

[Translate to Englisch:] International Public Media Conference (IPMC)

The «No Billag» people’s initiative highlighted the various sociological, economic as well as ideological debates being held throughout Europe and beyond concerning the importance of public media. Given the new technological, societal and regulatory challenges and ongoing discussions regarding the legitimacy of each type of media, this day offers an opportunity to explore the democratic role of public media in Switzerland and abroad. Numerous experts from all over Europe will speak about this topic and discuss what role the audiovisual public service can play in a society that is undergoing digital transformation. How do European industry experts perceive the change in the media landscape? What will the concept of «public media» encompass in the future? How can we deal with the fact that the audiovisual public service is heavily under attack, but at the same time more relevant than ever? All these questions will be addressed at the conference in the spirit of sharing ideas and finding solutions.

According to co-organiser Ladina Heimgartner, Director of RTR and Deputy Director General of SRG, the objective of the conference is twofold: First, to enable an exchange of experiences between different sectors (industry, authorities, science, etc.) in order to better understand how each country is dealing with its respective challenges. Second, to provide a unique networking opportunity for the media industry and all sectors concerned with this issue. To realise these objectives, the programme includes a number of expert presentations, a top-class panel discussion and real-life examples of creative and bold public service projects.

The morning will be dedicated to keynote speeches by communications expert Prof. Dr. Karen Donders, of Vrije Universiteit Brussel, and Noel Curran, Director General of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). A panel discussion with representatives of several European public media companies will follow: Cilla Benkö, Director General of Swedish Radio, Jean-Paul Philippot, Director General of Belgium’s public service broadcasting organisation (RTBF), Karola Wille, Director General of Central German Broadcasting (MDR), and SRG Director General Gilles Marchand. The afternoon presentations will focus on the following questions: What public service is needed for the new generations? What ideas do our neighbouring countries have for continuing to reach the youngest target groups?

The conference will take place at the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern and is free for all registrants, though the number of available places is limited. In addition, will provide a live stream of selected IPMC panels online ( and a report on the conference in English for interested members of the public.

Programme and registration (by Tuesday, 26 February 2019 at the latest) at: 



SRG SSR Media Relations
Medienstelle.srg(at) / Tel. 031 350 95 95