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Swiss voters back 'Netflix' law and boost to Frontex funding

Swiss voters are called to decide on certain topics if enough people call for a referendum

Swiss voters are called to decide on certain topics if enough people call for a referendum

Swiss voters were asked to vote in three referenda on Sunday on proposals that would see changes to organ donation regulations, further funding for Frontex and a law that would make streaming services invest some of their profits into the Swiss film industry.

According to exit results from public broadcaster SRF, a majority of voters backed all three motions.

The film law, popularly referred to as the "Netflix law," would see streaming services be required to make contributions to Swiss film-making, in line with requirements for domestic television broadcasters.

According to the direct democracy system of Switzerland, voters are called on four times a year to vote in referenda on specific topics according to popular demand.

Right-leaning opponents of the film law had been able to gather enough signatures to force a vote.

What is the 'Netflix law'?

A 2007 piece of legislation forced television broadcasters to invest 4% of their turnover into the Swiss film industry.

Sunday's referendum on the issue was to approve a amendment to that law that was brought in last October.

It is an attempt to catch up with changes in how audio-visual media is consumed. Streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ have annual turnovers of hundreds of millions of dollars in Switzerland alone.

Additional contributions from the platforms boost the funding for Swiss cinema by an additional 18 million Swiss francs (€17.2 million, $17.9 million) each year.

The amendment also requires the platforms to ensure that at least 30% of available content is from Europe.

What were the other referenda?

Swiss voters also backed the proposal to increase Frontex funding and this avoid being kicked out of the EU-led border protection system.

While Switzerland is not a member of the EU, it is part of the Schengen zone which has largely done away with border controls. But the government warned that the country would have to provide more money and staff to the agency to maintain its services.

The final proposal that was backed by voters will see organ donation becoming an opt-out issue. This means that everyone would be a possible source of organ donations when they die unless they specifically request not to be.

ab/jcg (AFP, dpa)