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"Horrorvision" for ORF: Hochner Prize winner warns against budget instead of GIS

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Vienna - In his acceptance speech for the Robert Hochner Prize in 2006, Armin Wolf settled with six years of ORF under civic leadership and thus initiated its end. Stefan Kappacher (Ö1) thanked Tuesday evening for the same award - before the governing parties ÖVP and FPÖ submit a new ORF law, determine a new management and new financing - instead of GIS fees, financing from the federal budget is the topic.

For Kappacher, this is an "absolute horror vision for public service broadcasting": "The allocation of needs by politics, coupled with the good behavior of ORF journalists".

Politicians would "take care of the money", said the new blue chairman of the ORF Board of Trustees, if "ORF journalists are accepted by the population".

They want to advertise acceptance - but those of the GIS fees, says Kappacher: "We ORF journalists will do everything we can to ensure that, if the worst comes to the worst, Austria becomes Switzerland." A large majority there voted for the retention of license fees. Kappacher at the award ceremony: "We are grateful to be able to do independent journalism on ORF, and we will continue to fight for this independence."

Van der Bellen: Wrong incentives

In his welcoming address to the award ceremony in the Hofburg, Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen warned against budget financing from ORF instead of broadcasting fees: "The financing of public broadcasting via the budget creates false incentives," explained Van der Bellen.

The Federal President also referred to the referendum on radio license fees ("Nobillag") in Switzerland. Financing through the budget makes the ORF "vulnerable", warned Van der Bellen. This could tempt a government into demanding journalistic quid pro quo - which contradicts freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

Van der Bellen praised the "courage to withstand interventions" in his speech at the award ceremony to Kappacher and Ernst Sittinger from the "Kleine Zeitung". Journalists shouldn't be sorry. However, it is "worrying" to accuse entire editorial departments of "lies" and "propaganda" across the board due to a possible mistake, the Federal President addressed indirectly attacks by the FPÖ on the ORF.

"Wagenburg mentality" in the case of errors in the ORF

In his speech, Kappacher denounced "fouls and pinpricks" of the FPÖ in order to disavow the ORF, and the ÖVP's silence on it. Also the interaction of the FPÖ with Krone and Co - "Journalism is good when it strengthens your own position". And he warns, a few days before the appointment of channel managers and channel editors-in-chief for ORF 1 and 2, of "careerists who could be blown into important positions with the new wind and then" have to deliver ".

Kappacher also criticizes the "Wagenburg mentality" with errors in the ORF, from "manipulative editing" in Tyrol Today at the expense of the FPÖ, to the "unsuccessful" Culture Monday with Culture Minister Gernot Blümel to the sideways glances that would have "prejudiced" the Tyrolean blogger Markus Wilhelm .

The Kurt Vorhofer Prize went to Ernst Sittinger (Kleine Zeitung). He warned of the "deforming, corrupting power" of constant information about users' access to articles: "The temptation to throw journalistic standards overboard is growing steadily." Sittiger: "Today we are - bizarre enough - proud of what we do not spread. We should cultivate this pride." (You can find more from Sittinger's speech at this link) (fid, APA, May 22, 2018)

Speech by Stefan Kappacher on the occasion of the award of the Robert Hochner Prize 2018 by Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen on May 22, 2018