(version francaise ci-dessous)
The International Press Association (API-IPA) is greatly concerned by Austrian interior ministry instructions to national police "blacklisting" and restricting communication with government-critical media to "the most necessary". The instructions also aimed at providing preferential treatment to government-friendly media.
"We are happy that Austrian chancellor Kurz and interior minister Kickl have backed down from these instructions," said API president Tom Weingärtner. "But we are still worried that this kind of thinking exists at such high levels of the Austrian government and is forced upon law enforcement authorities. This sends a wrong signal to public institutions that they too may manipulate information."
Freedom of the press and freedom of expression are cornerstones of democracy. Any attempts to undermine these principles for political reasons are unacceptable. All media should be treated equal. Governments have the obligation to provide unbiased information to all media.
API-IPA is also sorely concerned that media are being ever more harassed for political gain in an increasing number of EU countries. Democratic governments should make no distinction between critical and friendly media.
"Austria currently holds the presidency of the EU council of ministers. We expect the Austrian government to lead by example and respect European standards of press freedom and freedom of information," said Weingärtner.
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