Media and the power to shape opinions

Expert study (2015-2016)


Media offer collective access to information – and if there is no such access citizens are unable to form their own free opinions. The information communicated by the media is therefore an essential basis for democratic codetermination. This places considerable demands on a country’s political journalism. However, changes in the media and digitalisation are making it increasingly difficult for information journalism to fulfil its function.

Through their reporting and public discussion, the media can set priority themes (agendas) and influence political events. Diversity in the media landscape thus ensures balanced reporting, but competition is necessary for pluralism in the media. A number of channels and the opinions of a number of stakeholders are needed to express the different currents of public opinion. A reduction in media diversity therefore entails the risk of the largest publishing houses acquiring an excessive power to shape opinions.

For Switzerland, as a direct democracy, a decline in media quality and diversity is of particularly major significance, socially and politically. The question that therefore arises is how high-quality journalism should be financed in the future.

To learn more

Yearbook “Quality of the Media”, Research Institute for the Public Sphere and Society / University of Zürich 


Project supported by

  • Centre for Technology Assessment TA-SWISS
  • Federal Office of Communications

Project mandataries

  • Prof. Dr Manuel Puppis (Project Manager), Department of Communication and Media Research at the University of Freiburg 
  • Prof. Dr Michael Schenk, Department of Communication and Media Research at the University of Freiburg 
  • Prof. Dr Diana Ingenhoff, Department of Communication and Media Research at the University of Freiburg 
  • Prof. Dr Otfried Jarren, Institute of Mass Communication and Media Research IPMZ, University of Zürich
  • Prof. Dr Andreas Ladner, Institute of Public Administration, University of Lausanne

Supervisory group

  • Thomas Müller, SRF; Steering Commitee TA-SWISS - Chair of the supervisory group
  • Dr h.c. Moritz Leuenberger, Zurich, Steering Commitee TA-SWISS
  • Prof. Dr Thomas Merz, Medienbildung, PH Thurgau
  • Prof. Dr Stephan Russ-Mohl, Journalism and Media Management at the Faculty of Communication Sciences, University of Lugano, Director of the European Journalism Observatory
  • Dr Rosmarie Waldner, Science Journalist
  • Sylvia Egli von Matt, former director MAZ
  • Norbert Neininger, Schaffhauser Nachrichten, Vorstand SCHWEIZER MEDIEN (until May 2015)
  • Dr Andrea Piga, SRF Programmstrategie / Markt- und Publikumsforschung
  • Alain Maillard, EDITO
  • Tibère Adler, Directeur romand Avenir Suisse
  • Dr Philip Kübler, Verein Medienkritik Schweiz, Mitglied der Eidgenössischen Medienkommission
  • Marc-Henri Jobin, Centre de formation de Journalism
  • Christoph Zimmer, Kommunikation/Investor Relation Tamedia
  • Marcel Geissbühler, Gassmann Media AG
  • Jost Aregger, Federal Office of Communications

TA-SWISS project management

  • Dr Christina Tobler, TA-SWISS (E-Mail)

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