The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

National Council wants to place SRG under federal financial control

Updated at 05 Mar 2024 1:00 pm

The Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SRG) is to be placed under the supervision of the Swiss Federal Audit Office (SFAO). This is what the National Council wants. On Tuesday, it approved a parliamentary initiative by Marco Romano, a former member of the Ticino National Council.

The initiative, which was adopted by Zug Center President Gerhard Pfister, will therefore go to the responsible committee of the Council of States. If it also approves the initiative, the responsible National Council committee can prepare a draft decree. Romano and Pfister have in mind that the Federal Act on Radio and Television should be amended.

The duo argue that SRG has a performance mandate to fulfill and is largely financed by the radio and television licence fee of over CHF 1 billion per year. In view of this amount and the great public interest in SRG, the latter should be subject to SFAO supervision.

This also applies to other organizations to which the federal government has delegated the fulfilment of a public task.

"Advantageous for SRG"

Pfister said in the Council that it may seem paradoxical, but it could be beneficial for SRG if it were supervised by the SFAO. In the initiative text, Romano wrote that the SFAO, as an independent body, would have the opportunity to carry out risk-based and management-related financial supervisory audits at SRG.

This is done in close coordination with the control activities of other authorities and bodies. The autonomy of radio and television in program planning and design should also be respected by the SFAO.

Min Li Marti (SP/ZH) said on Tuesday on behalf of the majority of the preliminary committee that placing the SRG under SFAO supervision had already been repeatedly discussed and rejected. If this were to happen, the SFAO's supervisory activities could jeopardize the SRG's programming autonomy. The majority of the committee was generally of the opinion that the current provisions on the financial supervision of SRG were sufficient.

Contrary to the Commission's request

The National Council's Committee for Transport and Telecommunications had narrowly requested that the Council reject the initiative. However, the Council decided otherwise by 111 votes to 77 with 5 abstentions.

©Keystone/SDA

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