FPÖ – Hafenecker/Prince on media package: “Real information instead of ban and suppression!” | Liberal Parliament Club

2023-04-27 13:14:29

Free application for KommAustria review of the “gag decree” by ORF general director Weißmann was rejected

Vienna (OTS) “The so-called Quality Journalism Promotion Act is part of the black-green media package. There is talk of protecting media diversity and promoting independent journalism. But what does it really look like? It is the task of independent journalism to select topics, to research them, to report objectively and in a balanced manner – and to leave it to the media consumers to form their opinions. It is not the job of an independent journalist to do ‘court reporting’. It is not a sign of independent journalism to present media consumers with personal opinions as the only permissible point of view with a moralizing finger raised. That is not objective, but tendentious, patronizing and inadmissible. Then we have so-called attitude journalism or, to put it another way, constructive journalism,” emphasized FPÖ constitutional spokeswoman Susanne Fürst today in the course of the debate. Incidentally, there are editorials and comments for personal opinion.

“So the question is: Does this law promote truly independent journalism that can take place free of political interference and that is also permissible if it criticizes the government or other powerful people? Provisions in the law indicate that this is not the case. The 20 million euros in new journalism funding per year are awarded by KommAustria with recommendations from an advisory board – and this advisory board is staffed by the black-green federal government. This means that the federal government reserves the right to award the funding directly, ”explained the liberal constitutional spokeswoman.

Another criterion for eligibility for funding is content: media that are hostile to democracy, i.e. media that have repeatedly incited hatred and violence, incited violence against a group or that have called for disregard of the legal system, are excluded from funding. “Yes, of course, that’s what we’re all for. But the question is: What does the government mean by hate and hate speech, how do the ÖVP and the Greens define hostility to democracy? Is it hatred and hate speech or incitement to violence against groups when one criticizes the black-green asylum policy or goes into more detail about the proportion of foreign suspects in the crime statistics? Can one still criticize the Federal President or new laws and restrictions imposed by the government, or is that anti-democratic? If you criticize new laws or restrictions, do you also call for disregard of the legal system? Is it disinformation if you don’t repeat the ÖVP/Green government’s narrative one-to-one? In truth, this law threatens independent, free journalism, because ultimately the government can classify reporting as ‘anti-democratic’ at its own discretion and thus also usurp the interpretative sovereignty over what information and what disinformation is,” says Fürst. In short: the government wants to cut off subsidies for media that do not like it.

“The free press is a thorn in the side of the government anyway: National Council President Sobotka admitted this more or less directly today by lamenting the ‘disinformation’ in online media, where everyone writes what they want. According to Sobotka, the population cannot deal with this. The best weapon against disinformation is real information – not prohibition and suppression. And if the established media were to concentrate more on facts instead of opinion-making, then perhaps they would consume more and wouldn’t need as much support,” says Fürst.

The government’s media package designated FPÖ media spokesman and Secretary General NAbg. Christian Hafenecker, MA in his speech as a “belly stain” and also renewed his criticism of the new ORF law. He also tabled a motion for a resolution that aimed to get the regulatory authority KommAustria to deal with ORF Director General Weißmann’s “gag decree” relating to reporting on the ORF reform including the budget levy, which was rejected.

“Instead of providing citizens with comprehensive information in accordance with the public-law mandate, a muzzle was imposed so that not even criticism of the new ORF law was reported in the broadcasting formats. General director Weißmann has obviously manipulatively intervened and thus violated the ORF law. KommAustria must therefore examine this scandal and take appropriate steps that could lead to Weißmann’s dismissal. Anything else would mean that the ÖVP wooden path would be continued!” said Hafenecker.

The new ORF law itself is a “pure sham”: “When ÖVP Media Minister Raab stood up yesterday and claimed that the new ORF ‘compulsory tax’ would be cheaper for the citizens, then she obviously thought the Austrians were stupid. Because the reality looks very different: 700,000 additional households now have to pay for the ORF with this mass tax, the around 350,000 one-person entrepreneurs even twice. The ORF washes 70 million euros more in the coffers! ”

A “pitch joke” is that even other media companies are now being asked to pay for the ORF and the digital amendment lays the foundation for finally removing ORF Sport+ from the program.

Questions & contact:

Liberal Parliament Club
01/ 40 110 – 7012
press-parliament club@fpoe.at

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