Austria

Austria

Increase in attacks

The threats to press freedom have been growing since the far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) became the junior partner of a coalition government headed by Sebastian Kurz of the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) in December 2017. Politicians now often verbally abuse journalists. Despite repeated calls from civil society, Chancellor Kurz has so far refused to condemn such verbal abuse, which has come not just from small extremist groups but also from the FPÖ itself. Uncertainty about future funding of Austria’s public radio and TV broadcaster ÖRF also threatens press freedom. Until now it has been funded from the license fee paid by TV and radio set owners but the FPÖ and the powerful tabloid press want to abolish the license fee, which would force ÖRF to turn to parliament for funding every year and to submit its program content plans for approval, thereby losing its autonomy. Ever since the refugee crisis in 2015, there has been widespread mistrust of the media, and the label Lügenpresse (“lying press”) that was coined by Germany’s anti-Islam movement Pegida, is now heard more and more in Austria as well.

11
in the 2017 World Press Freedom Index

Ranking

0

11 in 2016

Global score

+0.29

13.18 in 2016

  • 0
    journalists killed in 2018
  • 0
    citizens journalists killed in 2018
  • 0
    media assistants killed in 2018
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