The structures and current trends of the Swiss media landscape are analyzed from a media-historical perspective and as a consequence of media policy action. The goal of the module is to advance the students’ understanding of how the Swiss media system is structured and how it impacts upon contemporary media and journalistic practice. All lectures are accompanied by exercises on current cases on a course blog. The course specifically addresses the following topics:
- The main features of the Swiss media system in terms of its market size and typology as well as its cultural references compared to other (Anglo-Saxon and Mediterranean) media systems.
- The historic development of the press in Switzerland: The emergence of the press and the issues related to censorship under the Ancien Régime; the slow emancipation from the political system and the implementation of press freedom; the development of the “Forum Press”, the tabloids and the growth of the free press.
- The current economic and technological issues of the press revolving around commercialization, financing, press concentration, the increasing competition from social media and digital journalism start-ups as well as the apparent return of the political press.
- The history and the organizational structure of the public service broadcaster SRG SSR as well as the concept of service public.
- The end of the monopoly of the SRG SSR and the development of private broadcasting in Switzerland, from the early “Pirates” operating from Italy until the liberalization of the broadcasting sector.
- The impact of media policy and regulation on the structure of the press, the broadcasting sector and the Internet in Switzerland. In addition, the course discusses current media policy debates e.g. evolving around the regulation and the financing of the public service broadcaster and, in general, journalism, as suggested, for instance, by the Federal Media Commission.
- The impact of the Internet on the Swiss media landscape in terms of opportunities and challenges, particularly with regard to Internet usage, news consumption, mobile technologies and the domination of tech-companies.
- Established and innovative accountability systems in Switzerland that influence and enforce the standards, norms and values in the Swiss media landscape.