Editors-in-chief see media diversity in danger

The association of editors-in-chief sees Austria’s media diversity in danger. The reason for this is the planned reform of the ORF law with expanded options for the ORF in the online area. These are life-threatening for digital journalism. In view of the dramatically deteriorating economic conditions for the media industry, the editors-in-chief are calling for a rapid reform of media funding and its expansion.

The association of editors-in-chief sees media diversity as one of the main pillars of democracy in Austria in danger. The planned reform of the ORF law must not disadvantage other market participants in their journalistic, digital and economic competitiveness. The independence of the public ORF should be strengthened, at the same time a fair dual media system is needed that does not damage private media in their digital activities. A fee-financed ORF with extended possibilities in the online area is a threat to the existence of digital journalism,” it said in a broadcast on Friday.

Only a fair balance of interests between public and private media offerings can ensure media quality and media diversity in the long term. The association currently does not see such a fair balance of interests and demands this for the future.

In addition, there are calls for a comprehensive reform of media and journalism funding. This should be awarded according to “transparent and verifiable criteria that promote and support editorial quality, journalistic resources, research and training as well as digital innovation. The media make a systemically relevant contribution to democracy. This performance must be taken into account by means of comprehensive financial support measures,” explained the editorial staff.

“Promised for many years, still not redeemed,” the association sees the implementation of a modern freedom of information law and the abolition of official secrecy. “We demand a comprehensive right to information and inspection of administrative files as well as a publication obligation for authorities and thus transparency in contracts, studies and other documents. Freedom of information increases trust in independent media and strengthens press and media freedom.”

The editor-in-chief association includes editors-in-chief from APA, “Der Standard”, “Die Furche”, “Die Presse”, “Falter”, “Heute”, “Kleine Zeitung”, “Kurier”, “News”, ” Lower Austrian News”, “Upper Austrian News”, “Upper Austrian People’s Journal”, “profil”, “Salzburger Nachrichten”, “Tiroler Tageszeitung”, “trend”, “Vorarlberger Nachrichten” and “Wiener Zeitung”. The media-political positions are also supported by the editor-in-chief of the “Kronen Zeitung”.

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