Press subsidy reform still awaited
The release of the “Ibiza-Gate” video in May 2019 that brought down the conservative/ far-right coalition government and forced a snap general election resulted in a government in which the conservatives are allied with the Greens, a party that claims to respect the highest press freedom standards. But the Greens have not as yet succeeded in bringing about lasting improvements in the media sector, such as press financing reform. The November 2020 terrorist attack in Vienna highlighted the consequences of a questionable media policy when some tabloids funded by government advertising printed photos of people who had been shot dead, which press freedom NGOs and the Austrian press council condemned. During the ensuing outcry, a petition was launched for an overhaul of state subsidies for the media and an end to all subsidies for some media groups. The Covid-19 crisis has contributed to the decline in press freedom. At an early stage of the pandemic, the health minister chose media outlets to be given access to certain information. At the same time, the slump in advertising revenue is likely to leave media outlets dependent on state funding for some time.
18 in 2020
15.78 in 2020