The postal system and the telephone, telegraph, radio, and television systems are government owned and operated. The telephone system is completely automatic, utilizing 4.82 million telephone lines in 1998. There were an additional 1.9 million mobile cellular phones in use in 1999. International communications, air navigation services, and the new electronic media, including data transmission and electronic mail, are the province of Radio Suisse, a public corporation of which the Confederation holds 95%. Broadcasting is controlled by the Swiss Broadcasting Corp. (SBC), an autonomous corporation under federal supervision. In 1995, there were six SBC radio channels and three television channels. A number of independent local radio stations have been operating since 1983. Radio programs are broadcast in German, French, Italian, and Romansh. As of 1999, Switzerland had seven AM and 50 FM radio stations and 108 television stations. In 2000, there were about 1,002 radios and 548 television sets for every 1,000 people. The same year, there were about 500 personal computers in use for every 1,000 people with 44 Internet service providers serving about 3.4 million people by 2001.
Switzerland has one of the world's highest numbers of newspapers. A few papers, such as the Neue Zürcher Zeitung and the Journal de Genève, are widely read even beyond the borders of Switzerland and have excellent international coverage. The Agence Télégraphique Suisse (Schweizerische Depeschenagentur), co-owned by some 40 newspaper publishers, is Switzerland's most important national news agency.
Among the largest dailies, as of 2002, were the following papers:
|C ITY||C IRCULATION|
|Tagblatt derr Stadt Zurich||Zurich||197,000|
|Neue Zürcher Zeitung||Zurich||158,170|
|Neue Luzerner Zeitung||Lucerne||130,315|
The Schweizer Illustrierte (circulation 195,894) is the most popular illustrated weekly, and the Nebelspalter (38,630) is the best-known satirical periodical.
The constitution provides for freedom of speech and a free press, and the government is said to uphold these freedoms in practice.