Christian TV-Spot Forbidden

Country: Switzerland

Date of incident: March 1, 2006

Christian media agency CAT is forbidden to show a TV-Spot for advertising their magazine, Baden, Switzerland

The Catholic Media agency CAT Medien produced a 15 sec. TV spot to advertise their magazine “Der Sonntag”, the biggest Christian newspaper in Switzerland. The federal office for communication (Bundesamt für Kommunikation – BAKOM) made routinely a first appraisal of the spot with the result that the spot was de facto forbidden. Legally, the BAKOM document was not binding, but “only” the evaluation that the spot infringes upon the Radio- und Fernsehgesetz von 1991 (RTVG) Art.18, Abs. 5 which forbids any religious advertisement in radio and television. However, the BAKOM would have sued (and most probably won) CAT Medien if they had transmitted the spot. This is de facto a prohibition. The reasons were the endangering of religious peace and of public order. When the E4C-office asked the jurist (Mr. Stämpfli) at the BAKOM in charge of this case, where exactly he sees the endangerment, he couldn’t give any answer. The spot shows the facade of a church, the shoes of a priest, a priest with the bible and a blown out candle and finally an Off-Voice saying: “Experience the world of religion in a different way – Der Sonntag – the biggest Christian magazine of Switzerland.” CAT director Fabian Egger categorises the spot clearly as an advertisement to provide information about a magazine. It is no advertisement for the catholic faith itself, but an information about the existence of a magazine.