Swiss feminist groups protest following revelations of sexual harassment at public broadcaster

The newspaper Le Temps revealed incidents of bullying and harassment at Radio Télévision Suisse (RTS), over the course of many years. Amid protests by feminist groups, inquiries are being conducted

November 08, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
Feminist activists stage protests following reports of sexual harassment at the public broadcaster, RTS

Women’s groups in Switzerland launched protests following the revelations made by the newspaper Le Temps regarding bullying and sexual harassment at the public broadcasting organization, Radio Télévision Suisse (RTS), over the course of many years. In the wake of the revelations and protests, on November 3, two executives accused of harassment were suspended and on November 4, the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) launched an independent investigation into sexual harassment at RTS. Grève des femmes, Greve feministe (Women’s Strike, Feminist Strike) organized a protest in front of RTS offices in Geneve, Lausanne and Fribourg, demanding an inquiry into the allegations and the conviction of the perpetrators of sexual harassment.

On October 31, Le Temps made shocking revelations about cases of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior by executives of RTS, and the management’s inaction in these complaints.

The Swiss Mass Media Union (SSM) said that the “existence of such cases calls for a profound questioning of the functioning of the RTS. With or without a formal complaint, it is clear that the current system has not worked. It is therefore ineffective in preventing and punishing cases of harassment in the company”. The SSM has demanded that the RTS management mandate an independent body to reform the regulatory framework.

The Romande (Francophone) coordinator of the Women’s Strike, Feminist Strike extended its support to the victims of sexual harassment in RTS. In its statement, the collective has stated that “It is unacceptable that a public service company does not condemn such actions and does not allow a safe working environment for its employees”

“We live in a society where genderist, racist, validist, homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination take multiple forms and happen at all levels and spheres of society: at work, at school, at home, in the public space. They take place across all social classes, nationalities, or religious denominations. The #MeToo international movement in 2017 and the feminist strike of June 14, 2019 rocked society. It is now necessary that concrete and timely action be taken. We’ve had enough of experiencing lifelong discrimination and violence, feeling insecure on a daily basis, no matter what sphere we live in, work, study”, said the collective.

The left wing party, Solidarity, has expressed support to the women’s groups’  protest against the sexual harassment at RTS.