Swiss TV licence fee set to be cut under new plans

Swiss TV licence fee set to be cut under new plans

In a statement, the government has confirmed its intention to lower the TV and radio licence fee in Switzerland (Serafe). The announcement is in response to the “200 francs are enough” SRG referendum, which federal authorities argue is too extreme.

Swiss radio and TV licence fee to be cut

Speaking to reporters, Federal Councillor Albert Rösti (SVP) confirmed that Switzerland's practically-mandatory radio and TV licence fee will be reduced in the coming years. Under the plans, households will see their Serafe bills fall from 335 francs a year to 312 francs from 2027, and to 300 francs from 2029.

For entrepreneurs, the government will also be increasing the minimum turnover above which companies must pay Serafe from 500.000 to 1,2 million francs a year. They estimated that this would mean that around 80 percent of Swiss companies would be exempt from the charge.

TV licence cut a counterbalance to the SRG Initiative

Writing in a statement, the Federal Council explained that the plans are a response to the “200 francs are enough!” (SRG Initiative) referendum proposed by the Swiss People’s Party. Under these plans, which gained enough signatures to be voted on in 2023, the licence fee would be cut to as the name suggests, 200 francs a year. This would amount to a budget cut of 40 percent for the national broadcaster SRG SSR, which runs SRF, RTS and RSI among others.

The government has rejected the initiative, arguing that “the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation needs sufficient financial resources in order to provide an equivalent journalistic offering in all language regions.” They added that the 200 franc fee would force broadcasters to cut important regional programming and news coverage.

Swiss government argue their plan is a good compromise

However, the Federal Council also “wants to relieve the financial burden on households and companies.” Therefore, they argued that their plan is a fair compromise between the rising cost of living and the financial health of the national broadcaster.

In response, SRG spokesperson Edi Estermann said that they welcomed the government’s plans, arguing that the SRG Initiative would have had a “far-reaching impact” on the quality of regional and national journalism in Switzerland. She said that they would analyse the plans in more detail, promising that "within the scope of its financial means, the SRG will do everything it can to continue to guarantee a diverse and high-quality program for all parts of the country." 

SSM media union condemn "massive attack" on public broadcasters

Others were more stringent in their opposition, with the SSM media union saying the plans are a “frightening disregard for democratic institutions" and a "massive attack on the media public service in Switzerland". “With today's decision to cut the SRG fees, the Federal Council is weakening the media completely unnecessarily - and sending out fatal signals” added the political group Operation Libero.

For their part, National Councillor Gregor Rutz (SVP), co-president of the SRG Initiative, said that they were also not happy with the plan. He argued that “it is now necessary to finally have an open, broad debate about the public service and the mandate of the SRG”, adding that the government had failed to address what the national broadcaster's purpose actually is.

When asked whether he thought the licence fee was still too high, Rutz said “we can only have this discussion once the SRG's mandate has been clarified…First, we have to talk about the services. Only then can we see what it costs and where savings can be made."

Thumb image credit: Judith Linine /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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