Film, video and photography
The Film Act and Film Ordinance have been in force since 2002. The Film Decree was elaborated by the Federal Office of Culture (FOC) together with the Federal Film Commission and the Swiss film industry. The current Film Promotion Ordinance has been in force since the beginning of 2006. The Dispatch on Culture, as the concrete implementation of the new Culture Promotion Act, determines the scope and nature of film promotion for the period 2012-2015. Film promotion includes financial support for projects, as well as the funding of production, marketing, and distribution endeavours. The term film culture refers to various measures such as support granted to film festivals, the publishing of film journals, or programmes aimed specifically at children and young people. In the form of financial contributions to cinemas, distribution, and dissemination, the federal government aims to promote the diversity and quality of the films on offer in Switzerland. Further, another focal area is co-production and international cooperation by means of an active co-production policy.
In 1997, “succès cinéma”, a reward system for film production, was provisionally introduced to provide additional funds to those producers (their team, production company, distributors, and the cinema) whose films attracted the greatest number of viewers. This support scheme will definitely continue. For 2007, a minimum admission requirement for profit-based film promotion was additionally introduced (CHF 10 000 for feature films and CHF 5 000 for documentary films).
A major role is played by the Federal Film Commission, whose function is to give expert advice regarding federal regulations.
As already mentioned, the federal government can support “domestic” as well as foreign-Swiss productions and film culture through financial contributions, quality awards, and prizes (see also chapter 7.2.4). It also supports film festivals and provides resources for education and further training in this sector.
The relevant laws in the area of film, video, and photography are:
- Federal Act on Film Production and Film Culture (FiA) of 14 December 2001
- Film Ordinance of 3 July 2002 (FiO)
- Ordinance on Film Promotion (FiFV) of the of 20 December 2002
- Ordinance on the Swiss Film Award of the of 30 September 2004
- Ordinance on the Promotion and Enhancement of the Applied Arts of 18 September 1933
Switzerland is a multilingual country. The mandate of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SRG SSR) is to produce and broadcast radio and television programmes in the country’s four languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. For this reason, the radio and television studios are located in the different language regions and additional funds are made available to enable the French and Italian language regions to produce as many programmes in their respective languages as in the German-speaking region of Switzerland.
In accordance with the Radio and Television Act,, the Swiss broadcasting landscape is opening up to private broadcasters while public broadcasting continues to maintain a strong position, primarily for political and cultural reasons. In 2008, the Federal Office of Communications granted 41 broadcasting concessions for local radio stations and 13 broadcasting concessions for regional television stations. These concessions contain service remits that should also guarantee public service on a regional basis. The new Act came into force in 2007 (see also chapter 2.5.3).
The institutionalisation and organisation of radio and television is based on Article 93 of the Federal Constitution, the Federal Act and Ordinance on Radio and Television (RTVA / RTVO), and on many (non-binding) guidelines issued by the Federal Office of Communications (BAKOM). Article 93 specifies that information, education, and entertainment are the main functions of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation. It guarantees the independence and autonomy of radio and television as well as gives consideration to Switzerland’s cultural communities. Radio and television should take account of original Swiss audio-visual and film productions and co-productions with other European countries, in line with European regulations (e.g. European Convention on Transfrontier Television). SRG SSR has a legal right to obtain a license and to collect license fees.
Switzerland is a member of the European Broadcasting Union, which is based in Geneva.
The diversity of the Swiss press reflects the federalist and multilingual structures of Switzerland. However, trends toward a concentration of the press have affected Switzerland in the past few years (according to the Federal Statistical Office; in 2006 there were 84 daily newspapers, in 2000 there were 93; and in 1985 there were 111). For this reason, whether public funds should be allocated to promoting press diversity or whether this would distort the mechanism of the press market has been on the political agenda. Although direct support for press diversity has been rejected in Parliament, indirect support (e.g. reduced shipping costs) is to be expanded.
The relevant laws in the area of mass media are:
- Federal Act on Radio and Television (RTVA) of June 21, 1991
- Radio and Television Ordinance of October 6, 1997 (RTVO)