The 24th edition of the Black Movie Festival in Geneva features 91 films

The 24th edition of the Black Movie Festival in Geneva features 91 films

The Federal Media Commission (COFEM) proposes a paradigm shift in media assistance. This must be granted to all private media in a uniform manner, regardless of the broadcast channel, advocates the group of experts in a report on Tuesday.

Just under a year after the people rejected a sweeping media support package, COFEM is recommending a “technology-neutral” system. A model that would treat all content offerings equally, whether print, streamed, offered as text, video or audio.

“Media companies should be free to decide which mode of dissemination they consider most appropriate to reach the population,” the report states. As a condition of being eligible for public funds, the media supported should address a wide audience and commit to respecting the industry’s self-regulation.

Help with free offers too

The aid would even be independent of the commercial model, which would pave the way for the support of free offers financed exclusively by advertising.

“Whoever gives the money should not decide on the business model,” COFEM president Anna Jobin told the press, acknowledging that this aspect had given rise to long discussions within the commission. . The press has always been financed by advertising, she argued, adding that free information must also be subject to quality criteria.

Support for the press remains essential, according to the group of experts. In a federal and multilingual country like Switzerland, direct democracy can only work with diversified information. However, this is threatened because of the financial difficulties that the sector is going through.

“Bad Incentives”

The current approach no longer corresponds to technical development or to social and economic changes. Today, any content can be broadcast on any channel, the report points out.

Today, aid to the press is based in particular on the reduction of postage rates for the distribution of newspapers and a share of the license fee for certain regional radio and TV stations, which must fulfill a public service mandate in exchange. On the other hand, there is no such support for online journalistic offers and for the printed press.

“The current system creates asymmetries and bad incentives,” noted the vice-president of COFEM, François Besençon.

More help for the little ones

Aid to private media could go through a minimum assumption of operating costs, explained COFEM, which did not articulate figures, stressing that this was the role of politics. “No matter the amount, the important thing is to invest the available sums well,” said Anna Jobin.

Given the realities of the market, it would be wise to design a degressive aid, in order to support more significantly the smallest media, nevertheless specifies the report.

COFEM admits that such a change of system can only be made in the medium term and that it will require transitional measures. However, she is convinced that this model “will provide a strong incentive for existing private media to invest in an attractive online offer to develop according to user needs”.

A boost in training

COFEM also recommends a series of general measures, some of which were already part of the package of measures swept aside on February 13 in a popular vote.

Thus, she proposes to support the training of journalists, while limited resources prevent many media from sending journalists to take courses. COFEM thinks that it is particularly worth encouraging the programs of schools such as the Center for Journalism and Media Training (CFJM) in Lausanne.

Another measure that paid the price for the February 13 vote, COFEM is putting support for the Swiss Press Council (CSP) back on the table. But to ensure the independence of the branch’s self-regulatory body, the subsidies must only be subsidiary, the operation having to be ensured above all by the sector itself.

Help with the press agency

The experts also defend the principle of support for an independent national press agency in three languages. They note the importance of Keystone-ATS, which provides the media with a “reliable, neutral and current basic offer”, taking into account all the cantons, “a crucial element in a federal country”. Here too, the experts emphasize that the agency must be supported by the entire branch.

The commission of experts also recommends supporting innovation, in order to encourage the emergence of new media or to accompany existing media projects.

This article has been published automatically. Source: ats

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