Switzerland | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2005

2005 Scores

Press Status


Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


Media freedom is guaranteed in the constitution, although the penal code prohibits racist or anti-Semitic speech. Swiss media are free from editorial and government interference but operate mainly along linguistic-regional divisions. Broadcast media are dominated by the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, which is a public service association subject to private law. The corporation is mandated to provide radio and television programs in all four national languages (in order of population size, German, French, Italian, and Romansch) and to promote mutual understanding and exchange among all Swiss communities. It is dependent on the government for financing, although its news reporting is politically neutral. Revenue from licensing fees is distributed from the dominant German-speaking region to the others in order for all to be able to produce their own programming. Some private broadcasters are beginning to emerge but do not significantly challenge the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation. Owing to market forces and the multilingual nature of the country, most private stations are limited to local and regional broadcasts. Nearly all homes are connected to cable networks, which provide access to international commercial stations. Daily newspapers are owned by large multimedia conglomerates, which have steadily pushed smaller publications out of the market. Ownership is concentrated, and advertising has been declining. Newspaper readership levels are high, while Internet access is open and unrestricted.