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12 October 2020

Switzerland: Flood of Initiatives: 5G Opponents Interfere with One Another

Switzerland: FLOOD OF INITIATIVES: 5G opponents interfere with one another
by Gian Signorell, Beobachter, no. 21, 9 October 2020 - translation

5G opponents cannot agree on a common approach. Experts warn that they are wasting their energies in this way.

Demonstration against 5G in Geneva in
January 2020
Image: Martial Trezzini / Keystone
"The time is ripe, now we have to get started," says Peter Schlegel, board member of the environmental organization Frequencia. He speaks of collecting signatures for the Safer-Phone mobile communications initiative. The referendum aims to better protect the population from electrosmog and, in particular, from cell phone radiation.

The central element of the initiative is a new supply concept: interiors are to be accessed via cables. The providers are obliged to expand the fiber optic network into all buildings. This means that cell phone waves no longer have to penetrate thick walls. The antenna power could therefore be reduced and the radiation exposure lowered.

Operators wave it off

The city of St. Gallen has already implemented a similar small cell concept in a pilot project in some parts of the old town (Beobachter reported). According to those responsible for the project, radiation exposure should have fallen by around a third. The mobile network operators consider the concept unsuitable. Comprehensive coverage with 5G can only be achieved with large systems.
The Safer Phone initiative starts from the second row, because there is a real flood of initiatives in mobile communications. For a year now, the campaign has been collecting money for the Mobile Phone Liability Initiative. It wants to make operators responsible for personal injury or damage to property caused by mobile phone transmitters.

The committee of the mobile communications initiative has also been collecting for a year. It wants to prevent the limit values currently in force from being increased, demands that data on electrosensitivity are collected and that schools are informed about the effects of mobile telephony on health.

Finally, the initiative of the Stop 5G committee is pending before the Federal Chancellery. Their core concern: Nobody must be exposed to a non-ionizing radiation intensity of more than 0.6 volts per meter per second. This corresponds approximately to the current exposure. The collection of signatures is to start in December. In addition, the initiative "Community autonomy for mobile phone coverage" of the Freiheitliche Bewegung Schweiz is being developed.

Simultaneous collection of signatures: "A strategic mistake"

Does this flood of initiatives serve the concerns of cell phone critics? Communication experts are skeptical. “Collecting for initiatives is time-consuming. And collecting signatures for so many initiatives in parallel and in isolation splits up resources considerably, ”says Georg Lutz, Professor of Political Science at the University of Lausanne.

Bern-based communications expert Mark Balsiger even speaks of "a strategic error". "The individual camps are comparatively small, they lack the experience for such challenges. To get at least 100,000 valid signatures is a challenge. Those who do not have large sets of addresses or their own mailing list must collect the majority of signatures on the street. "This requires many committed people and strict discipline. Passers-by have no more time, they want to get from A to B as quickly as possible.

Quarreling and envy on the scene

Felix Hepfer from the liability initiative says he works very well together with Ursula Niggli, initiator of "For a health-compatible and energy-saving mobile communications". He complains about dissension and jealousy on the scene.

Charly Pache from the 5G initiative says that they are not cooperating because the thrust of the other initiatives is not target-oriented. Peter Schlegel sees the Safer Phone initiative as having the advantage of joining forces: "We have coordinated our initiative with various national councils, experts and doctors for environmental protection.

Original article in German:

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