Swiss Papers React To Covid Leaks Report

(MENAFN- Swissinfo) Español (es) Los periódicos suizos reaccionan al informe Covid Leaks

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The working group had investigated how many leaks had occurred, focusing on the role of Alain Berset's interior ministry.

The measures decided by the government to curb the Covid-19 pandemic were the subject of numerous indiscretions, it reported on Friday. The interior minister was aware of the exchanges between his head of communications and the media, but he was not aware of their content.“There is no reason not to believe what Mr Berset said,” parliamentarian Philippe Bauer told the media in Bern on behalf of the oversight committee.

+ Swiss president remains tight-lipped on 'Covid leaks'

Tages-Anzeiger: Mission not fulfilled

The Tages-Anzeiger newspaper was disappointed by the committee's report:“With the report on the Covid leaks, the parliamentarians clearly missed their targets.” The committee did a“remarkable” job of analysing 500 media reports – but nothing more.

The newspaper criticised the fact that only 16 people were interviewed over a period of ten months – despite assurances to the contrary beforehand, none of them were outside of Berset's interior ministry (with the exception of the members of the government). As a result, very little came to light:“The central question of whether Berset knew about the indiscretions also remains unanswered,” according to the newspaper. The committee should also look at itself:“Despite the few findings, it sharply criticises the government – and the media. A little self-criticism would be more appropriate.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung: Nothing sticks to Monsieur Teflon

The Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) reacted with disillusionment to the committee's report, according to which Berset is said to have known nothing about the content of the exchange between his then Head of Communications Peter Lauener and Ringier boss Marc Walder.“This is somewhat astonishing,” the newspaper wrote.“Because the committee found out that secret information from 38 of 50 government meetings was leaked to the public.” However, the interior ministry was not necessarily responsible for all leaks, it said.

“The culture of indiscretion was widespread in the Federal Parliament, and the government did nothing for a long time,” summarised the NZZ.“There are indeed indications of a Berset system, albeit one that the government strangely never realised existed.” Nothing sticks to“Monsieur Teflon”, it said.

Schweiz am Wochenende: Toothless committee

For the Schweiz am Wochenende, it is unlikely that Berset knew as little about the indiscretion of his then head of communications as he claimed. Even if the committee was unable to provide any concrete evidence to the contrary.“This in no way means that Berset was clueless – and this would not be plausible either, as Berset and Lauener worked closely together for ten years.”

The newspaper sharply criticised the committee:“The committee is a toothless authority, perhaps it also lacked the will to dig deep.” It also saw Berset's decision not to stand for re-election to the government as an indication that he still wanted to remain a government minister at the end of 2022.“This is not an admission of guilt, but an indication that Berset feared that his true role could end at any time.”

+ Swiss interior minister Berset throws in the towel

Blick: One-sided investigation

Blick, which is published by Walder's Ringier publishing house, criticised the committee's investigation as unbalanced:“The working group only took a close look at Berset's interior ministry. In no other department were emails from employees requested and analysed,” the newspaper wrote.“An unbiased, balanced investigation looks different.” An“irrepressible will to actually get to the bottom of what happened” was not in evidence.

Le Temps: Report is incomplete

Le Temps found the committee's report incomplete:“Light had to be shed on the darkness”, considering that the Covid leaks had impaired the management of the pandemic. Alain Berset's responsibility is“obvious”, according to the newspaper, which pointed to the imminent departure of the man who holds the rotating Swiss presidency this year.

La Liberté: Missing the mark

According to La Liberté, the committee missed the mark by not naming any responsibilities. The limited options available to politicians explain this result: if someone refuses to hand over private emails, for example, a political body only has limited options for action, the newspaper wrote.

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