FPÖ media spokesman Hans-Jörg Jenewein called an interview between Wolfgang Wagner and president Alexander Van der Bellen in the Austrian Public Broadcast (ORF) TV programme Report reminiscent of an East German news program. Jenewein even demanded to replace Wagner as a responsible for the programme. “Such comparisons are inappropriate and dangerous,” warns Rubina Möhring, president of Reporters Without Borders Austria. “In democracies, journalists rather than politicians decide, which questions are to be asked.”
Hans-Jörg Jenewein described Wolfgang Wagner’s interview on Tuesday as “outrageous” and “typical conviction journalism” working on a “personal agenda” to “get those answers that the left would like to hear”. With this, Jenewein continues the specific tactics of the FPÖ to depict journalists, especially of the ORF, as partisan and thus to question their credibility. Wolfgang Wagner has proven his political independence for many years with critical work.
At the same time, Jenewein demanded a “reform of the head and limbs”. Due to structural deficits, there must be a personnel reorientation, said Jenewein.
“This form of criticism by the FPÖ is not new, but still extremely dangerous. Individual journalists are deliberately disavowed in order to intimidate them and weaken media houses as a whole. The FPÖ hopes that with such unjustified attacks, some of the claims get stuck, “emphasizes Möhring.
“This is a direct attack on the freedom of the press and thus on the democracy in Austria, against which we must defend ourselves,” warns Rubina Möhring. “The FPÖ is only looking for occasions to make demands for structural and personnel redeployment. We must not allow independent media to be restricted in this way. ”
ORF director Alexander Wrabetz and the editorial board condemned Jeneweins statement sharply.