More on BilagBy Eric Antoine Scuccimarra
After having written that last post about the Bilag, I just read yesterday that there is a referendum coming up in March to get rid of the Bilag. While it is possible that the small size of the Suisse Romand market would place constraints on the lengths to which media will go to compete for viewers, I still think that getting rid of the Bilag would be completely disastrous.
I assume the main driver behind the movement to get rid of the Bilag is the CHF 450 that people would save every year. Unfortunately, the Swiss citizens have no idea what they would be trading in exchange for that sum, having never witnessed American television and it's endless advertisements. Getting rid of the Bilag would put the media in the hands of corporate advertisers who have no cares at all about the quality of information or programming available - their concern is to make as much money as possible, and this pertains to media as far as getting the widest reach for their advertisements.
Some things are too important to be left to free markets - notably healthcare and information. The theories of free markets depend on consumers having valid and comprehensive information with which to make their decisions, and putting information in the hands of the corporations will completely destroy any semblance of efficient markets.
To date, Switzerland seems to have isolated itself from many of the drawbacks of neoliberalism. Getting rid of the Bilag would be a huge disaster and, in my opinion, would be a big step to Switzerland's losing much of the character that makes it unique and makes it a great place to live.