Austria | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2004

2004 Scores

Press Status


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


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


Austria remained a free media environment in 2003. The federal constitution and the Media Law of 1981 provide the basis for a free press. Seldom-used legal restrictions, which forbid reporting deemed detrimental to morality or national security, remain. Observers, including the European Court of Human Rights, complain about the use of libel and slander laws to shelter politicians and other government officials and the impact these laws have on coverage. Media concentration is a concern as a conglomerate of the two largest publishing groups, Newsgroup and Mediaprint, controls 60 percent of the daily newspaper market and nearly 100 percent of the magazine market. The Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF) continues to dominate both the radio and television markets. However, a variety of private radio stations exists, and laws passed in 2002 permit private television stations. In June 2003, ATV Plus, the first private TV channel, was available nationwide. Internet access is unrestricted and widely available.