Reports: Austrian media authority initiates proceedings against broadcaster “Auf1”.

The Austrian television channel “Auf1”, which is critical of the government, seems to have become the focus of state media supervision. Formal legal reasons are given for the investigations; so an approval for broadcasting should be missing. The action taken by the authorities does not appear to be an isolated case.

As reported by the Austrian media in the last few days, the media supervisory authority “KommAustria” is investigating the online broadcaster on1 from Linz and the Upper Austrian regional broadcaster RTV2 recorded.

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There is a suspicion on1 – which, according to the station’s own information, stands for “Alternatives Independent Television, Kanal 1” – distributes its program without a license. The media regulator has opposite profile confirms that proceedings have been initiated against the broadcaster, which is said to be politically right-wing. So far, however, there has been nothing to be found in the press releases of KommAustria. The accusation is specifically that the contents of on1which works purely as an online broadcaster, via the Upper Austrian regional broadcaster RTV would also be distributed terrestrially. However dispose on1 not licensed for terrestrial broadcasting. It is said that KommAustria’s decision is still completely open. If the authority against on1 decide, this is likely to be the end of terrestrial distribution RTV mean that online access to the programs would not appear to be affected.

All press reports about the proceedings against on1 emphasize that since the beginning of its broadcasts in May 2021 – at the height of the Corona crisis – the medium has “repeatedly spread unproven conspiracy myths and the crudest allegations”, such as the allegation by profile. The “apocalyptic mood” is calculated while doing business with it at the same time: In the online shop of on1 “Emergency generators and canned food” are indeed offered, among other things.

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The content profile of the station is determined by criticism of the state corona measures, the mRNA vaccinations, but also Western Russia policy, currently the Ukraine war. The program is also at odds with the mainstream when it comes to other social and economic issues. Again default writes, as early as February 2022, KommAustria had a “substantive check” of the transmitters on1 and RTV initiated. It is about “possible violations of the Audiovisual Media Services Act (AMD-G) with regard to journalistic due diligence”. KommAustria was due to “substantial complaints”, according to the Pressversus on1 and RTV become active. Both broadcasters would now have to submit video recordings of the offending programs for “preliminary testing”.

Whatever the measure-critical reporting of on1 may be assessed, it remains to be noted that behind the transmitter with Stefan Magnet, as it is at profile means “well-known head of the extreme right”. Magnet was a member of the right-wing extremist “Bund Freier Jugend” (BfJ) and did not distance himself from this association, nor from his “earlier contacts with neo-Nazis like Gottfried Küssel”. Magnet, who served as Editor-in-Chief of on1 functions, runs an advertising agency and has good contacts with the FPÖ. The funding of on1which calls for donations, is unclear.

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The actions of KommAustria against on1 and RTV However, this is not an isolated case. The broadcaster is also subject to a review of the content ServusTV affected, against whom proceedings have been ongoing since April 2022. In this case, too, a complaint had given the impetus for the investigation. The Austrian “Presseclub Concordia” had suspected in a “statement of facts” that the satirical weekly comments of the Goodbye-Intendant Ferdinand Wegscheider (The Wegscheider) “does not comply with the principles of objectivity, diversity of opinion and journalistic diligence[n] and thus violate the Audiovisual Media Services Act (AMD-G). ServusTV look forward to the review by the Austrian media supervisory authority – and continue to cooperate with sports broadcasts ORF. ServusTV belongs to the media company “Red Bull Media House”, a subsidiary of the Austrian Red Bull group.

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