As noted in an earlier post, on Sunday, 2018-11-25 Swiss citizens will vote on the contentious issue of whether to amend the federal constitution to prohibit the removal of horns from cows and goats. Also on the ballot will be the (French title) “Initiative pour l’autodétermination” (Self-determination Initiative).
Ever since its inception, radio and television broadcasting in Switzerland has been supported by a tax on receivers, paid by every household, regardless of whether they actually watch or listen to the broadcasts and how much they consume. Over time, the funds collected through this fee, now billed through a semi-private company called Billag AG, have been used to subsidise private broadcasters, at the discretion of the federal authorities. These fees are substantial: the household fee for television and radio reception is currently CHF 451.10 (US$ 481.87 at today’s exchange rate).
In an environment where there are myriad sources of entertainment, none supported by these tax revenues, this has generated a push-back. Since Swiss radio and television consists largely of content from broadcasts from other countries a year or more after it is available on popular streaming services and local public affairs programming with a hard collectivist tilt from the studios in Zürich and Geneva, more and more people are asking, “Why am I paying more for this stuff that I never watch or listen to than a fancy flat-screen TV costs these days?”.... [Read More]