Press distribution: the desire for diversity of opinion

Why the Swiss press dis­tri­b­u­tion sys­tem sup­ports direct democ­ra­cy, facil­i­tates cul­tur­al life and brings joie de vivre. This frag­ile, bal­anced sys­tem is based on five pil­lars, which togeth­er guar­an­tee sta­bil­i­ty and con­ti­nu­ity.

The entire diver­si­ty of soci­ety is revealed at a sin­gle glance, from small local papers to busi­ness mag­a­zines and elite cul­tur­al pub­li­ca­tions. Piles of titles lie close togeth­er – even if the con­tents could­n’t be more dif­fer­ent. The bound­less diver­si­ty of news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines reflects the free­dom and cre­ativ­i­ty of our soci­ety.

The Swiss press dis­tri­b­u­tion sys­tem must be pro­tect­ed. Diver­si­ty is the essence of a lib­er­al soci­ety.


From the intellectual value of the editorial…

The press dis­tri­b­u­tion sys­tem has a spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance in Switzer­land because of direct democ­ra­cy: our cit­i­zens vote sev­er­al times a year on nation­al, can­ton­al and local issues. They are accord­ing­ly depen­dent on infor­ma­tion, which is why mil­lions of cit­i­zens choose cer­tain news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines every day. Diver­si­ty of opin­ion is of cru­cial rel­e­vance to this direct demo­c­ra­t­ic process. If any­thing, the Swiss pop­u­la­tion has become more appre­cia­tive and accept­ing of direct democ­ra­cy in recent years – and accord­ing­ly they insist on being able to gath­er infor­ma­tion from a broad range of sources. From let­ters to the edi­tor to edi­to­ri­als – they all con­tribute to our cit­i­zens’ abil­i­ty to form their own opin­ions.

Press diver­si­ty for all cit­i­zens in all regions thus guar­an­tees diver­si­ty of opin­ion.

But the Swiss press dis­tri­b­u­tion sys­tem not only fos­ters opin­ion-form­ing in direct democ­ra­cy, it also sup­ports life and cre­ativ­i­ty in both cul­tur­al and social terms. Ref­er­ences, reviews, reports, cri­tiques and assess­ments cov­er folk­lore in remote val­leys, open-air con­certs between Locarno and Basel and per­for­mances by famous soloists in our country’s lead­ing con­cert halls. This cov­er­age reflects our cul­tur­al and social life, but only if news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines are avail­able to every­one in every region – in the vil­lages, the agglom­er­a­tions and urban cen­tres, up hill, down dale.


Legal foundations

The Swiss Fed­er­al Con­sti­tu­tion pro­tects free­dom of opin­ion and infor­ma­tion in its cat­a­logue of fun­da­men­tal rights, as well as free­dom of the media. The leg­is­la­ture regards the media as a link between the state and the pub­lic, and it con­sid­ers the safe­guard­ing of the unhin­dered flow of news and the free exchange of opin­ions to lie at the heart of the free­dom of the press. Basic rights are first and fore­most defen­sive rights against encroach­ments by the state. At the same time the state has the duty to shape the com­pet­i­tive order in such a way that it comes close to the guid­ing mod­el of diver­si­ty of opin­ion. The con­tri­bu­tion of the media to diver­si­ty of opin­ion there­fore enjoys spe­cial con­sti­tu­tion­al pro­tec­tion.


…to individual passion

But these news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines also illus­trate our joie de vivre: they report on hob­bies and inter­ests, fields of exper­tise and pas­sions – from the culi­nary arts to home design. News­pa­pers and mag­a­zines avail­able every­where reflect a country’s zest for life, and they inspire the peo­ple of Switzer­land to stay active and curi­ous.

So press diver­si­ty stands for qual­i­ty of life in a mod­ern, diverse, enlight­ened soci­ety.

Func­tion­ing dis­tri­b­u­tion in the press sec­tor is cru­cial to the diver­si­ty of news­pa­per and mag­a­zine titles. For decades, press dis­tri­b­u­tion in Switzer­land has been in the hands of whole­salers who are inde­pen­dent of pub­lish­ers and who have exclu­sive rights in their ter­ri­to­ries.

7Days Media Ser­vices GmbH, Frankfurt/Main, is respon­si­ble for dis­tri­b­u­tion in the Ger­man-speak­ing and Ital­ian-speak­ing areas. This Ger­man com­pa­ny, which has a branch office in Egerkin­gen, acquired Valora’s whole­sale press busi­ness on 1 August 2014.

Why has the Swiss press dis­tri­b­u­tion sys­tem proven itself over the past decades?

There are three main rea­sons for this:

  • Press dis­tri­b­u­tion is com­plete­ly neu­tral, gov­erned sole­ly by logis­ti­cal effi­cien­cy.
  • Press dis­tri­b­u­tion is car­ried out inde­pen­dent­ly of the finan­cial or entre­pre­neur­ial inter­ests of indi­vid­ual pub­lish­ing hous­es.
  • Press dis­tri­b­u­tion is non-dis­crim­i­na­to­ry and inde­pen­dent of the ide­o­log­i­cal, polit­i­cal or con­tent-relat­ed posi­tions adopt­ed by indi­vid­ual pub­li­ca­tions.

The his­tor­i­cal result is also clear: the Swiss press dis­tri­b­u­tion sys­tem, which embod­ies the country’s fed­er­al­ist struc­ture, has proven itself. The sys­tem not only ensures great print-media diver­si­ty: it is also not­ed for its effi­cien­cy. That our sys­tem makes a deci­sive con­tri­bu­tion to diver­si­ty of opin­ion in Switzer­land is a proven fact.


The conclusion is therefore clear:

The sys­tem works: 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. With­out inter­rup­tion. So the cor­ner­stones on which the sys­tem is based – the essen­tials – must be pre­served. This effi­cient sys­tem, adapt­ed to our Swiss needs, must also be able to prove itself in future.


The conclusion for Switzerland

Diver­si­ty of opin­ion:
The press dis­tri­b­u­tion sys­tem is cus­tomized for Switzer­land, and it guar­an­tees diver­si­ty of opin­ion.

Sup­ply man­date:
As a neu­tral dis­tri­b­u­tion part­ner of the pub­lish­ers and retail­ers, the whole­saler ful­fils a sup­ply man­date – entire­ly in line with the require­ments of a media-polit­i­cal pub­lic ser­vice.

The Swiss dis­tri­b­u­tion sys­tem meets the require­ment to pro­tect print-media diver­si­ty.

Under the Swiss dis­tri­b­u­tion sys­tem, titles are avail­able every­where: ubiq­ui­ty is guar­an­teed.