ORF wants to censor journalists' tweets

Journalists working for the Austrian public broadcaster ORF are to refrain from posting comments on social media "that can be interpreted as approval, rejection or evaluation of statements or as expressing sympathy, antipathy, criticism or 'polemics' towards political institutions or their representatives". Draft social media guidelines to this effect were leaked last week. Journalists are incensed.

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Frankfurter Rundschau (DE) /

Vienna following in Orbán's footsteps

In the opinion of the Frankfurter Rundschau the situation in Austria is disturbing indeed:

“What we are seeing is nothing less than the start of Austria's Orbánisation. As in neighbouring Hungary, liberal democracy is now under pressure here too. The Freedom Party of Austria has already taken control of the security apparatus. Now the right is also trying to bring the public broadcasters into line. Europe sees itself as a beacon of freedom and justice in the world. Vienna seems to be increasingly forgetting this.”

Wiener Zeitung (AT) /

Where 'likes' are permitted

Writing in the Wiener Zeitung, comedian Severin Groebner stresses the absurdities of ORF's instructions to its staff:

“Have no fear, the order merely pertains to the relationship between ORF editors and the political institutions, their representatives and their members. That means that as an employee at ORF you can no longer share, like or comment on tweets like 'The government is a bunch of neurotic idiots who couldn't get a job as a night clerk at the morgue without all their yes-men and old-boy networks'. But a Facebook post that maintains that the Giza pyramids were built by aliens, planes spray raspberry soda into the atmosphere and behind all this is the Jews' planned Islamisation of the land of strawberries can be shared without a qualm. Because that's completely apolitical.”