Explore SRG with «Metro»

“Metro” guides you station by station through all the important and interesting issues to do with the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SRG SSR). See why SRG has a public mandate but is nevertheless not an institution established under public law. You can become acquainted with SRG's unique form of organization and see what objectives SRG wants to pursue in future. “Metro” is a tool for people in a hurry, but also for those who want to know exactly what's what. “Metro” is aimed at new employees, but there are also one or two things for "old SRG hands" to discover as well. Of course, people who don't work at SRG are also invited to get to know SRG better with ”Metro”. The first station on each “Metro” line provides a concise summary of the key facts. The second station looks more closely at the subject matter. Detailed information is available at station three, and clicking on station four will take you to the RSI, RTR, RTS, SRF and SWI Swissinfo Enterprise Units.

Journalistic quality: Guidelines, tools and controls

  • What does the Charter require from SRG in terms of journalistic quality?

    Article 3 of the SRG Charter describes its requirements for journalistic quality: 

    • SRG's programme output must meet high quality and ethical standards.
      The media have power. They can influence the shaping of opinions, destroy careers and transform previously unknown people into stars. Media professionals are consequently expected to use this power responsibly. As an enterprise with a public remit, this applies especially to SRG. So it's not enough for SRG editorial offices simply to obey the law. They also have to observe high professional and ethical standards (see below). 
    • The individual programming areas are guided by the programming remit.
      The programming remit is also described in the Charter. It includes the aspects of promoting cohesion within Switzerland, integration, promoting Swiss culture, entertainment, education and promoting the free shaping of opinion (see section on "Mandate and legal position"). 
    • The individual programming areas must be characterized by credibility, a sense of responsibility, relevance and professional journalism.
      These four criteria therefore form the basis of the "Minimum Programming Quality Standards" (see below).
    • SRG ensures its programming services are unique, thereby differentiating itself from commercially orientated broadcasters.
      SRG is not allowed simply to emulate the programming strategy of a commercial media company. It has to set itself apart from private providers in terms of offerings and content.
    • SRG seeks to achieve a high level of acceptance among its various target audiences.
      SRG must ensure it provides offerings for different target groups. For example, it cannot simply decide it's going to make programmes for children and no-one else. 
    • SRG does not measure acceptance primarily in terms of market share.
      It's not just the number of viewers, listeners or Internet users that determines whether SRG is doing its job well or not. According to its programming remit, SRG must also include content on Swiss culture, integration and education in its schedules. Experience has shown that content on these subjects is not always a huge hit. But even though it sometimes attracts small audiences, it is important for assessing programming quality. 
    • To implement the above guidelines, SRG defines and publishes content and format-related quality standards.
      SRG has appropriate standards: its "Minimum Programming Quality Standards" (see below).
    • SRG regularly  conducts internal quality inspections.
      These inspections are conducted in the RSI, RTR, RTS, SRF and SWI Swissinfo Enterprise Units. Each Enterprise Unit has developed its own method for this purpose. 
    • SRG informs the public of the results of its quality inspections. 
      SRG provides information on its efforts in the field of journalistic quality in the SRG Annual Report each year.

    Konzession SRG SSR

  • Who monitors SRG's journalistic quality?

    Four entities monitor SRG's journalistic quality:

    1. SRG itself. RSI, RTR, RTS, SRF and SWI Swissinfo conduct regular quality inspections. The results of these are published in the company's annual report. However, quality inspections also form part of the everyday work of editorial offices and departments,where regular strategy meetings and feedback sessions take place, for example. 

    2. Public Councils. In each language region and also at SWI Swissinfo, the SRG ownership structure operates a Public Council. These councils check the quality of the Enterprise Unit's offerings and hold regular discussions with programme makers. 

    3. The Federal Office of Communications in its capacity as a supervisory authority. It commissions research bodies to conduct analyses of SRG's offerings on a random basis. These analyses are intended to indicate whether programmes and online services are taking sufficient account of different aspects of the programming remit (promoting cohesion within Switzerland, integration, promoting Swiss culture, entertainment, education and promoting the free shaping of opinion). 

    4. The audience. Members of the public can contact the Ombudsman and, if necessary, the Independent Complaints Authority (UBI) if they spot editorial slips in programmes or web content. 

    SRG Quality

    Bakom – Beiträge und Studien Medienforschung

  • What are the "Minimum Programming Quality Standards" ?

    The "Minimum Programming Quality Standards" apply to all SRG Enterprise Units. They consist of six quality components that incorporate concrete instructions for editorial offices. Provided these guidelines are implemented, media professionals should possess all the tools they need to maintain the quality criteria stipulated in the Charter – "professional journalism" and "a sense of responsibility" – at a high level. This in turn lays the foundations for "credibility" and "relevance" in all programming areas. The following six components together make up the "Minimum Programming Quality Standards":

    • Quality standards and norms
    • Management by objectives (MBO) and transmission brief
    • Resources and processes
    • Feedback and quality control
    • Training
    • Market and audience research

    SRG Minimalstandards Programmqualität

    Die sechs Bausteine des Programmqualität

     

     

  • What is the SRG Code of Ethics?

    All large companies have a code of ethics or a code of conduct. These range from brief, concisely worded guidelines to 50-page tomes containing detailed rules of conduct and sanctions. SRG has opted for a streamlined code of ethics. This Code lays down SRG's basic ethics in four principles, and applies to all SRG employees. It is neither a set of instructions on how to behave ethically nor a collection of prohibitive rules. Instead it spells out key principles of conduct, thereby forming the basis for concrete measures such as the introduction in 2013 of the Whistle-Blowing Office, which can be used to report breaches of rules confidentially.

    Ethikcode der SRG

  • What is the SRG Programming Charter?

    The Programming Charter serves the media representatives of SRG as a guide for their work. It sets out at an internal editorial level the values that the Enterprise Units' own guidelines put into concrete operational terms. The Enterprise Units' journalistic guidelines are therefore derived from the general values specified in the Programming Charter.
    Programming charter

  • What are SRG's Corporate Principles?

    Most large companies have corporate principles. They provide the company with direction. They describe the enterprise's underlying vision and the mission that is to be jointly undertaken. Externally, corporate principles reflect a company's fundamental stance. They are used to derive corporate policies and strategies. Complementing its mission and vision, SRG's Corporate Principles list its key principles: credibility, independence, diversity, creativity and fairness.
    Corporate principles

  • Code of Ethics, Corporate Principles, Programming Charter: What's the difference?

    Together with the Organizational Regulations, the Code of Ethics, Corporate Principles and Programming Charter form the "constitutional level" of SRG. These four policies apply to the whole of SRG and are of paramount importance. They are agreed by the SRG Board of Directors. But what's the difference between these four policies? There is a clear difference between the Organizational Regulations and the other three policies – the Organizational Regulations contain organizational guidelines. The Code of Ethics, Corporate Principles and Programming Charter contain behavioural guidelines and reflect the values that SRG embodies. The Code of Ethics is a general code of conduct similar to that found in most large companies. The Corporate Principles describe SRG's vision, the mission it intends to fulfil together with its employees, and the principles that should be upheld. The Corporate Principles are therefore specifically tailored to SRG and the services it provides. SRG's policies and strategies are extrapolated from its Corporate Principles (see section on "Strategy and objectives"). In contrast, the Programming Charter is aimed at journalistic content. It is derived from the Charter, additional legal guidelines (such as criminal law and the protection of privacy) and from ethical guidelines and principles for journalism, and is intended to act as a guide to how media professionals should behave.

  • Where can I find ethical guidelines for media professionals?

    The "Declaration of the Duties and Rights of Journalists" issued by the Swiss Press Council is a set of ethical guidelines for media professionals in Switzerland. The Press Council is available to the public and media professionals as a complaints authority for ethical issues relating to journalism. Through its activities it promotes a reflection on fundamental ethical issues in journalism, thereby stimulating a discussion on ethics amongst editorial staff in Swiss media companies. The Swiss Press Council comments on media-related ethical issues, either on the basis of complaints received or on its own initiative. It defends freedom of the press and freedom of expression. Comments by the Swiss Press Council are founded on the "Declaration of the Duties and Rights of Journalists", the associated directives issued by the Swiss Press Council and on the Council's own experiences. In its comments, the Press Council states whether the journalists' code of ethics has been violated or not.

    Presserat

  • What happens if erroneous content is published?

    The SRG Programming Charter says that SRG employees will openly admit to errors and remedy incorrect information. If a member of the public believes they have identified a mistake but editorial management believe it is not a mistake, the member of the public can consult the Ombudsman's Office. The Ombudsman will attempt to mediate between the appellant and editorial management. The next level of appeal is the Independent Complaints Authority (UBI). Decisions by the UBI can be taken to appeal at the Federal Supreme Court, either by the appellant or by SRG (for details on this, see "Mandate and legal position", station 3).

    Ombudsman's offices

    Unabhängige Beschwerdeinstanz (UBI)