Switzerland is characterised by a federalist system which allows for participation by the population in the decision-making process. The internet is crucial for Swiss citizens living abroad to keep abreast of developments back at home. This page contains a selection of websites explaining how Switzerland is structured and how it functions, providing you with the information you will need to form an opinion and exercise your political rights from overseas.
Structure of the state and current-day politics in Switzerland
In Switzerland the people are sovereign, exercising supreme political power. The Swiss political system is based on this principle, enabling the Swiss people to express their opinion on a vast array of topics at the federal, cantonal and communal levels and elect their representatives to Parliament. On its website the federal government gives an overview of the workings of politics at the federal level, and provides a presentation of the legislative, executive and judicial powers and the Swiss political parties.
Current-day politics in Switzerland
On behalf of the Swiss Confederation, SRG SSR with its five components (RTS, SRF, RSI, RTR and swissinfo) provides the Swiss population with a universal service in the four language regions. As part of its public service mandate SRG SSR broadcasts radio and television programmes in the four national languages, covering all topics of interest to Swiss society (politics, culture, the economy, sport, leisure activities, etc.).
SRG SSR broadcasts its satellite television programming in encrypted digital format in various parts of the world. A Sat-Access card can be obtained from SRG SSR to decrypt the signal. Radio broadcasts are also transmitted by satellite.
The swissinfo unit fulfills the Swiss Confederation's information mandate for foreign countries. Its mission is to provide information for Swiss citizens living abroad about topics and events featured in the Swiss news and promote the presence of Switzerland abroad. The swissinfo.ch internet information platform presents news and information about Switzerland in text, images, sound recordings and video, all in ten languages.
The international television channel TV5MONDE also fulfills a specific public service function with regard to the French-speaking Swiss population and the wider francophone community worldwide. In addition, TV5MONDE is the exclusive provider of the RTS news broadcast.
The main privately owned Swiss newspapers are available online. Some publish an international edition in print. The websites of media organisations provide more information.
Information aimed at the Swiss abroad
Certain media directly target Swiss citizens living abroad and take into account their specific information needs.
The Swiss Review: the magazine for the Swiss abroad
All adult Swiss citizens registered with an official representation of Switzerland abroad (embassy, consulate general) receive free of charge the "Swiss Review" magazine, which is published in French, German, English and Spanish. The "Gazzetta Svizzera" is the official review published in Italy for Swiss citizens living there. The reviews are both published several times a year and are also available in digital format.