Coronavirus: SRF singled out for two reports

In two reports, the German-speaking radio and television station SRF wrongly qualified people as “criticism of vaccination” and “opponents of Covid measures”, according to the ombudsman of the SSR in a decision published on Tuesday evening. Five people had filed a complaint.

A woman allegedly harmed by mRNA vaccines – who is one of the plaintiffs – was interviewed in the “Tagesschau” and in the SRF online article “Strafanzeige gegen Swissmedic” (“Criminal complaint against Swissmedic”) of November 14 last. She was described as “critical of vaccination”, deplored the complainants, believing that this designation was inaccurate since the main person concerned had been vaccinated several times.

The plaintiffs also criticized the fact that their lawyer was also described as a “critic of vaccination” and an “opponent of Covid measures”. These are insinuations and irrelevant information, leading to discredit the lawyer, believe the plaintiffs.

Violation of the principle of objectivity

The editorial staff of the “Tagesschau” admitted that the term “criticism of vaccination” was misleading for the woman in question, can we read in the press release of the ombudsman. He says that while he took the apologies and subsequent corrections into account in his considerations, it was the initial and broadcast reports that were decisive.

Read again: In German-speaking Switzerland, the SRF annoys the right

If a person who has been vaccinated several times is named as such, it distorts opinion, the body concluded. The latter therefore spoke of a violation of the principle of objectivity.

Regarding the lawyer, the editorial staff of the “Tagesschau” on the other hand maintained its position. In the context of the report and for reasons of transparency, she thought it important to mention the lawyer’s commitment to vaccination and sanitary measures.

For the mediation body, on the contrary, the position of a lawyer on vaccination is not relevant in the exercise of his mandate. A lawyer defends the interests of his clients, whatever his personal position. It therefore has nothing to do with a report. The ombudsman again found a violation of the principle of objectivity.

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