Swiss presenter criticised for wearing cross
A TV presenter has received much criticism for wearing a cross pendant during a broadcast. According to the Swiss Radio and Television (SRF), the broadcast guidelines say that employees should not wear religious symbols.
Wasiliki Goutziomitros wore the necklace while presenting the news program "10 vor 10" from the SRF. That led to several critical questions. SRF told the news website Nau.ch that internal guidelines advise employees not to wear visible religious symbols. "SRF employees keep their distance from all ideologies and interest groups", the broadcaster explained. At the same time, it emphasises that journalistic guidelines are not a strict ban.
Goutziomitros has promised not to wear her necklace during broadcasting anymore, Livenet reports. She said that the cross does not have a religious meaning to her. Instead, it is a family heirloom that she received ten years ago. According to the presenter, the necklace is "a lucky charm" for her.
On the other hand, Marc Jost, Member of Parliament in the Nationalrat for the EVP (Protestant People's Party) criticises the controversy around the cross pendant. He noticed Goutziomitros wearing the jewellery four years already. Furthermore, he says that "because of a piece of jewellery, you cannot blame the moderator for not having enough distance to an ideology", PRO reports. Jost pleads for more tolerance from the broadcaster "as long as the content and comments remain independent."
Furthermore, he points out that the cross is not only a piece of adornment but also a message. "The first is a question of aesthetics; the latter is protected by freedom of belief."
Also, Swiss lawyer Ueli Vogel-Etienne points out that no law prohibits wearing religious symbols at work. Even though companies are allowed to enforce dress codes, Vogel argues that this necklace should not be banned. "It is such a small and discreet symbol, even if it has a religious touch."
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