5.1.9 Language laws
Switzerland is a multilingual country. It has four national languages – German, French, Italian and Romansh; other languages make up a share of 9%. The latter figure reflects the percentage of foreign nationals (22%) living in Switzerland. The Languages Act (2010) is an important tool for achieving the key objectives of Swiss cultural policy, including the fostering of cultural diversity, the improvement of access to culture, and cultural exchange both within Switzerland and with countries abroad (see Dispatch on Culture and chapter 4.2.5)
The Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SRG SSR) – under the Radio and Television Act (2006) – produces seven television programmes in all national languages. The federal government pays particular attention to the integration of the Romansh culture into these programmes. Additional funds are forwarded to the SRG for French and Italian-language broadcasts. The strong emergence of the dual channel sound system is also enabling more and more broadcasting in English.
The film industry has a similar language commitment to uphold. For instance, companies can only exploit the theatrical release of a film if they own the rights for the entire national territory in the original version and for the versions in all national languages.