Increase in attacks

Threats to press freedom have been growing since the far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) became the junior partner of a coalition government in December 2017. Reporting which is not to the FPÖ’s liking is subjected to systematic verbal attacks. Independent journalists who cover government scandals are branded as “left-wing extremists” and are accused of trying to undermine government policy. One of the most striking examples was Deputy Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache’s reference to Armin Wolf, a leading TV news anchor on state-owned ÖRF, as a ”liar.” Journalists are censoring themselves to avoid the increasingly frequent attacks and hate speech. There was also an outcry in September when it was revealed that the interior ministry, which is headed by another FPÖ politician, Herbert Kickl, had instructed police press departments around the country to restrict communication with three “critical” newspapers – the centrist Kurier, the centre-left Der Standard and the left-wing weekly Falter – to the “legal minimum.” ÖRF’s future as Austria’s public TV broadcaster is still very uncertain and a new, long-awaited media law has yet to be unveiled.

in the 2019 World Press Freedom Index



11 in 2018

Global score


14.04 in 2018

  • 0
    journalists killed in 2020
  • 0
    citizens journalists killed in 2020
  • 0
    media assistants killed in 2020
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