Switzerland 🇨🇭, officially known as the Swiss Confederation, is a Central European country which mostly practices Christianity. It is a federal republic of 26 cantons.

General censorship[]

The Article 16 of Swiss Federal Constitution guarantees freedom of the press, radio and television. The institutionalisation and organisation of radio and television is based on article 93 of the new Swiss Federal Constitution.

Book censorship[]

  • Titeuf - this Franco-Swiss comic book featured a nurse character nicknamed "Double-Airbag", who was drawn with E-cup breasts, which were redrawn to C-cup due to protests from PTAs.

Film censorship[]

  • Paths of Glory - this war film was banned between 1957 and 1970 due to its critical depiction of the French army during World War I.
  • Rondo - this documentary was banned between 1968 and 1975 because of its critical look at the Swiss prison system, implying that for the Swiss, jail as a deterrent and punishment is more important than integrating and rehabilitating prisoners back into society.

Internet censorship[]

Internet is regulated by the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland on a case by case basis. Internet services provided by the registered with BAKOM Internet service providers (ISPs) are subject to a "voluntary recommendation" by the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland, which requires blocking of websites just after 18 December 2007. As of October 2015, this might change soon and additional topics like Online gambling are on the focus now. There were no government restrictions on access to the Internet or credible reports that the government monitored email or internet chat rooms without appropriate legal authority. The constitution provides for freedom of speech and press, and the government generally respects these rights in practice. An independent press, an effective judiciary, and a functioning democratic political system combine to ensure freedom of speech and of the press. A referendum on limits to free speech in Switzerland occurred on February 9, 2020 where the Swiss people voted 63.1% to 36.9% to allow a 2018 anti-LGBT discrimination bill to be enacted. The bill criminalizes "discriminatory statements made on TV, social media, or public venues." The committee "No to Censorship" argues on its website that individuals have the right to express controversial public opinions. Other Swiss laws passed from 2012 penalize public incitement to racial hatred or discrimination, spreading racist ideology, and denying crimes against humanity, but there were no convictions or arrests under these laws in 2012. Under Swiss federal law, it is a crime to publish information based on leaked "secret official discussions." A number of cases involving violations of secrecy by the press were under investigation during 2012, but authorities handed down no sentences for such offenses. In November 2011 the Swiss government ruled that downloading unlicensed copies of films, music and video games for personal use will remain legal, because it is not detrimental to copyright owners. In 2010 the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland found that IP addresses are personal information and that under Swiss privacy laws they may not be used to track Internet usage without the knowledge of the individuals involved. Switzerland's Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner praised the decision and said that companies using personal information to track Internet usage are assuming "tasks clearly in the State's domain" and only the state can violate personal privacy and only when pursuing criminal cases. He also made clear his view that the "decision provides no protection for anyone breaking the law. Clearly it should be possible to punish copyright infringements on the Internet". A proposal was drafted in 2002 to revise Swiss federal laws on lotteries and betting. Under the proposal providers offering access to games that are considered illegal face fines up to 1 million Swiss francs or up to a year of imprisonment. This effort was suspended in 2004, and no further action has been taken since. In December 2002 a local Swiss magistrate ordered several Swiss ISPs to block access to three Web sites hosted in the United States that were strongly critical of Swiss courts, and to modify their DNS-servers to block the domain appel-au-people.org. The Swiss Internet User Group and the Swiss Network Operators Group protested that the blocks could easily be bypassed and that the move was contrary to the Swiss constitution, which guarantees "the right to receive information freely, to gather it from generally accessible sources and to disseminate it" to every person. Nonetheless, there was strong enforcement, as the directors of noncompliant ISPs were asked to appear personally in court, failing which they faced charges of disobedience.

Opposition to internet censorship[]

Internet censorship circumvention is the process used by Internet users to bypass the technical aspects of Internet filtering and gain access to otherwise censored material.

Circumvention software[]

Software applications for circumventing web-blocking are readily available. Tor is in use through software including xB Browser and Vidalia, and a number of other proxy solutions including Proxify. Freenet is another popular solution available for free download from the Internet.[1]

Television censorship[]

  • Pingu:
    • The episode "Pingu's Lavatory Story" was banned in multiple countries after its original Swiss broadcast resulted in multiple viewers complaining about the characters urinating on the floor on-screen (even if penguins do not excrete like humans in real life), as well as references to alcohol addiction. It was because of the complaints that "Pingu at the Doctor's" became a second season episode, rather than a first season one.
    • "Pingu at the Doctor's" was itself banned in some countries due to Pingu's beak bleeding. It wasn't released on home video.
  • Pat & Mat: the children's television programmers of the German-language station Schweizer Fernsehen banned some of the episodes because they contained high amounts of slapstick violence, which they deemed "too dangerous".

Video game censorship[]

Other censorship[]

  • Most motorsport racing events involving cars have been banned in the country since 1955 after the Le Mans disaster, where a crash killed the driver and 83 spectators. For decades, the only car-based motorsport events allowed in the country were time trials like hillclimbing, and rallying, which also does not involve direct on-course competition between vehicles, except when one car catches up to the one who started before it. Motorcycle road racing also falls under the ban, but off-road disciplines such as motocross have never been banned. Monster Jam (which had one event in 2006 at Hallenstadion in Zurich as part of an international tour), surprisingly, was not banned. In 2015, the country lifted the ban on car-based road racing, only for electric vehicles, hoping to get a race in the Formula E series (which finally happened in 2018).


  1. The Best Browser Extensions that Protect Your Privacy by Alan Henry, LifeHacker. 2013-04-24.

External links[]