Press forces far-right out of government
Political upheaval was triggered in Austria in May 2019 when German media outlets released a secretly-recorded video of a meeting in Ibiza between Heinz-Christian Strache – the then deputy chancellor and leader of the far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) – and a woman posing as the niece of a Russian oligarch. Dubbed the “Ibiza-Gate” video, it showed Strache ready to accept secret funding and electoral support in exchange for access to government contracts. The acquisition of a stake in an influential Austrian tabloid was also discussed. The ensuing outcry brought down the right / far-right coalition government and led to an early general election. This in turn resulted in a new coalition between Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s right-wing party, which still had the largest number of parliamentary seats, and the Greens, a party that claims to respect the highest press freedom standards, which entered into government for the first time. This new coalition has moved the government back towards the centre without affecting the still tense relations between Kurz’s conservative party and particular media outlets, which continue to be denied access to certain government-held information.
16 in 2019
15.33 in 2019