Austria | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2003

2003 Scores

Press Status


Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


Austrian media remained free in 2002. The federal constitution and the Media Law of 1981 provide the basis for a free press. Legal restrictions, although seldom invoked, forbid reporting deemed detrimental to morality or national security. Strict libel laws and the political use of libel lawsuits against journalists cloud coverage. The concentration of media ownership limits the pluralism of viewpoints and has raised antitrust concerns. Two media corporations, Mediaprint and Newsgroup, control the majority of newspapers and magazines. The state only recently began to issue private radio licenses, and government-controlled radio still dominates the airwaves. New legislation formally dissolved the state's television monopoly on January 1, 2002. Only one private television station has begun to compete with the state broadcaster. Internet access is unrestricted and widely available.