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IRIS 2007-2:7/10

Austria

The Media in the Programme of the New Government

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Robert Rittler

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Vienna

On 11 January 2007, the new Federal Government was sworn in by the Austrian President. The Federal Chancellor, Dr Alfred Gusenbauer, will be responsible for the media.

The Government programme contains a chapter on "Media and Telecommunication". Alongside ensuring a pluralistic media landscape with high-quality services, promoting Austria's competitiveness as a media and cultural centre and strengthening the dual broadcasting system, the following plans are outlined:

1. The media authority KommAustria and the Rundfunk und Telekom Regulierungs-GmbH (broadcasting and telecommunications regulator) will be merged to form an independent media and telecommunications authority. KommAustria is currently bound by the instructions of the Federal Chancellor, while RTR-GmbH is subject to the directives of KommAustria. There will be two stages of appeal, which should quickly provide legal certainty for media providers.

2. As well as existing support for printed media, the introduction of subsidies for commercial and non-commercial electronic media will be examined.

3. The programming remit of the Österreichische Rundfunk (ORF) will be reviewed, with the protection of minors and the self-obligation to broadcast Austrian productions particularly under the spotlight. The advertising restrictions specific to ORF will be assessed and relaxed if necessary.

4. The introduction of mobile television will be promoted.

5. Internet networks will be extended so that the whole population can access the broadband infrastructure by the end of 2009.

References
Regierungsprogramm für die XXIII. Gesetzgebungsperiode DE
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=10592
 
  Government programme for the XXIII legislative period