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Chroniques politiques et culturelles (CP) - 03 JUN 1940 - Anglais
     [CP-1940-06-03-EN]


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Aperçu rapide de l'OCR:
Topic of the Day: Monday, June 3, 194o
Ladlea and Gentlemen,
Among the subjects we have discussed before this microphone there have
been certain ones that necessitate a periodical revision in order to avoid
creating those regrettable misunderstandings that do occur occasionally. This
is the case for our press régime, under which we have lived since the month of
September, 1939. I should like to take-up this subject once again with you
this evening because our Federal Council has just modified this régime in the
light of experience, and has given it a form which can be considered definite.
First of all, we must state that Switzerland, in spite of present events
and the situation in which she finds herself, has no censorship. She has never
introduced it, nor will she as long as she can remain outside the conflict.
Although we are making a tremendous effort to insure the security of our territory
and to defend our independence, our first intention is to protect above-all our
constitutional liberties against any assailment. Independence without our
liberties would be void of significance. Without them we would begin to question
if our independence was worth; safe-guarding.
Among these liberties, there is one that we particularly hold to. This is
the freedom of opinion. It is, consequently, also the freedom of the press by
which particular opinions are expressed. In principle, the freedom of the press
should rest inviolate. If our state is neutral, if our government remains scrupulously
at an equal distance from belligerents, why then the citizens need no
longer be concerned over the matter of neutrality. Their intelligence and their
conscience remain entirely free. We are old liberals; we want to remain faithful
to the spirit of our institutions, which have never known the regimentation of
But, as I have frequently told you, we have always considered that our
liberties should be exercised with order and discipline. Far from being illimited,
far from giving way to license and anarchy, these liberties should not in any
case compromise the interests of the state, nor make the already delicate task
of the government still more difficult. With this nssary reserve the value of
these liberties is in no way detracted; it is, on the contrary, impregnated with
dignity and enhanced.
Our authorities have shown confidence in the newspapers and in the
journalists to assure this discipline and order. They are allowed to be their
own censors. The responsibility of deciding what can be printed that will not be
detrimental to the country as a whole, nor compromise its superior interests,
rests with the newpaper men. This is to say, we have no preliminary censorship,
exercised previous to printing. This is why we do not have, as the belligerents
do, those large vacant white spots in the columns of our newspapers.
But we do M r certain control over our papers, a control which is exercised
after their publication. If it is seen that a journalist is not sufficiently
conscious of his duty and that he does not supervise his pen carefully enough, his
attention is called to the inconveniences of his attitude. He is given advice and
counsel. All this is done quietly and in a paternal spirit, and I must say this
method has, during nine months, proved to be effective.
To be sure, if abuses continue and counsel goes unheeded, dp- if a journalist
shows himself obstinate and stubborn, ignoring the arguments which are presented
to him, he can be made the object of certain sanctions. But up-until—now such
sanctions have been very rarely applied. They are a supreme penalty to which
recourse is made only for the gravest reasons.
Such is our press régime. That it is one of the most liberal still existing
in Europe, will not be contested, I'm sure. Guardians of our independence, we are
also the guardians, modest but resolute, of a liberal conception of thought and
its expression, which we particularly hold to, but which we believe should be
exercised with discipline. This harmonizes with the genius of our institutions. We
have always thought that democracy was not a luxury to be enjoyed solely in peace
times, but that all her value and efficaciousness should be kept even during
the most critical periods of a nation's existence.'— juvvL s **-*k- ¿ ~&4AQ
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