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Swiss voters reject plan to end mandatory TV fees

Official results show Swiss voters handily rejected a proposal brought by free-market advocates to end mandatory fees to finance publicly supported TV and radio programming. State-backed broadcaster RTS says a minimum number of Swiss cantons, or regions, turned down the "No Billag" referendum on Sunday, spelling the end of the measure named for the company that collects the fees and championed by some far-right populists.
By The News · 04 of March 2018 13:29:05
Laura Zimmermann, Operation Libero, National Councillor Marianne Streiff-Feller, National Councillor Matthias Aebischer, member of the Councillor of States Filippo Lombardi, Joachim Eder, member of the Councillor of States and National Councillor Edith Graf-Litscher, from left, react after the first projections concering the No Billag initiative, on Sunday, April 4. March 2018 in Bern. (Anthony Anex/Keystone via AP), No available, Laura Zimmermann, Operation Libero, National Councillor Marianne Streiff-Feller, National Councillor Matthias Aebischer, member of the Councillor of States Filippo Lombardi, Joachim Eder, member of the Councillor of States and National Councillor Edith Graf-Litscher, from left, react after the first projections concering the No Billag initiative, on Sunday, April 4. March 2018 in Bern. (Anthony Anex/Keystone via AP)

GENEVA (AP) — Official results show that Swiss voters have handily rejected a proposal brought by free-market advocates to end mandatory fees to finance publicly supported TV and radio programming.

State-backed broadcaster RTS says a minimum number of Swiss cantons, or regions, turned down the “No Billag” referendum on Sunday, spelling the end of the measure championed by far-right populists and named for the company that collects the fees.

A “yes” would have ended TV license fees of about 450 francs ($480) per year.

The vote had been widely watched by broadcasters across Europe.

The head of German public broadcaster ZDF, Thomas Bellut, hailed the outcome, saying “the Swiss have sent a signal and made clear how important public broadcasters are for a pluralistic society.”