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Population: 8.8 million
Internet penetration: 96%

News media in Switzerland operate in linguistically distinct and relatively small markets. The public broadcaster remains strong but is under attack on several fronts. Meanwhile co-operation and concentration between and within commercial media companies are becoming increasingly important features of Switzerland’s media system.

A move to centralised newsrooms producing content shared across multiple, previously separate distinct regional outlets has become the norm at Tamedia (publishing brands like Tages-Anzeiger) and CH Media (with brands like Aargauer Zeitung). While this undoubtedly leads to more efficient use of resources, many worry about the impact of these moves on the quality and distinctiveness of the regional press and its repercussions for informed participation in Switzerland’s vitally important direct democracy.

Swiss publishers are also hoping to increase efficiency through greater co-operation. The four largest media companies are expanding their joint industry project OneLog to provide users with a single login for online news content – both free and paid – from multiple providers. Switzerland’s public broadcaster SRG SSR is co-operating with this commercial media initiative. The publishers hope that OneLog might help them gather their own user data, thereby compensating for the impact of privacy-inspired moves to limit third-party cookies and allowing them to compete better with platforms for attention and advertising.

The public broadcaster SRG SSR, whose SRF and RTS brands continue to be the most used and most trusted brands, is facing renewed pressure on multiple fronts. It has lost important sports rights to private competitors. A referendum on halving the public broadcast licence fee is looming, with right-wing politicians currently collecting signatures to trigger one. If this more limited referendum occurs – which would not happen until 2025 – the proposal seems likely to gather greater support than the complete abolition of the licence fee, which was rejected in the 2018 referendum. The federal government is also expected to change the broadcaster’s remit, possibly in response to pressure from private media and politicians who want the SRG SSR to reduce its sports and entertainment section and text-based news on its websites.

Faced with stagnating levels of paying for online news (17% in 2023) commercial media companies are looking for new revenue sources and have been lobbying for policies to make platforms pay copyright fees for link previews and news snippets. The government seems receptive to these calls, but action could take two to three years. Meanwhile, the political situation makes public subsidies for commercial media extremely unlikely. Swiss citizens rejected a package of support measures in a referendum in early 2022, and shortly afterwards parliament voted down even limited indirect subsidies to technological infrastructure for online news media.

Media companies have been in the spotlight in other ways as well. First, a ‘leaks affair’ dominated the headlines in early 2023. A CH Media-owned news outlet published leaked material which allegedly showed that a press officer working for a government minister (currently Switzerland’s president) had repeatedly leaked sensitive information on COVID-related measures to the CEO of the media company Ringier – a touchy subject in a country where consensus and confidentiality among the members of the coalition government is considered essential.

Second, media companies and some of their high-level editors and journalists are increasingly criticised for creating toxic working environments. While it is unclear which types of misconduct actually occurred, these cases are often accompanied by labels such as #metoo or #mediatoo and thus perceived as issues of sexual harassment and abuse. Whether or not as a direct result from these scandals, both Tamedia (TX Group) and Ringier have recently shaken up their senior editorial teams.

Publishers are pursuing different digital strategies in terms of channels and formats. CH Media, for instance, is focused more on an on-site strategy, bundling its previously distinct regional newspaper, radio, and TV programmes into cross-media online brands. By contrast, 20 Minuten, Switzerland’s largest brand online, is adapting more to the platforms, replacing its ‘video first’ strategy with a ‘social media first’ one. 20 Minuten and the public broadcaster have both built up substantial audiences not only on Facebook but also increasingly on newer platforms such as Instagram and TikTok.

Some forms of artificial intelligence (AI) have entered journalism, such as the personalisation of the news site or the 20 Minuten app offering automatic translations into nine languages, including those of immigrant communities. Use of truly generative AI is limited to a few players. However, with the advent of ChatGPT in particular, AI is firmly on the agenda and media managers and journalists expect it to profoundly reshape journalism in the years to come.

Linards Udris and Mark Eisenegger
Research Center for the Public Sphere & Society (fög), Department of Communication and Media Research (IKMZ)/University of Zurich

Pay for online news


French speaking 20%

German speaking 16%

Listen to podcast in the last month


French speaking 35%

German speaking 37%


Trust in news overall


(=) 17/46

French speaking 41%

German speaking 43%

Trust in news I use


French speaking 49%

German speaking 51%

Overall trust levels have moved up and down in recent years and have now fallen by 4pp. Brands from the public broadcaster remain the most trusted in both German-speaking and French-speaking Switzerland, followed by subscription-based newspaper brands. Less trust is placed in tabloids, digital-born brands, and news from email providers (Bluewin, MSN, Yahoo, gmx).

RSF World Press Freedom Index


Score 84.4

Measure of press freedom from NGO Reporters Without Borders based on expert assessment. More at

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