Austria Culture

Austria Culture and Mass Media

Newspapers in Austria

According to EXTRAREFERENCE.COM, Austria is a country located in Europe. Austria’s media landscape is characterized by high ownership concentration and a large number of media products in relation to the size of the population. The daily press still holds a strong position, although the editions of the paid newspapers have fallen in recent years.

Internet and mobile telephony

75% of Austrian households have access to the internet, but access is increasing rapidly as more and more people connect via mobile broadband. Global sites like Facebook and Google are the most visited. Only two domestic media are included in the top ten list: the state radio and TV company ORF and the newspaper Der Standard.

There are four mobile operators with their own network. The largest is Telekom Austria, which originated in the former state post and telecommunications agency. The others are German T-Mobile, French Orange and Hong Kong-owned 3. In addition, there are about ten virtual operators. 3G coverage is very good with a range of about 95% of the population.

TV and radio

State-licensed ORF (Österreichischer Rundfunk) holds a dominant position in the etheric media. The main reason is that Austria was one of the last countries to allow private television and radio. The first privately owned TV channel, ATV, was launched in 2003 and privately owned radio channels began broadcasting on a larger scale in 1998. ORF has five TV channels and three nationwide radio channels. In addition, the company operates nine regional radio stations.

The country has five nationwide terrestrial commercial TV channels as well as some 50 privately owned regional radio channels. In addition, there are a large number of cable TV channels, most of which are broadcast from Germany.

Daily press and magazine

The daily press has a very strong position in Austria with over 2 million printed copies. every day, free newspapers included (2012). The largest is the tabloid Kronen Zeitiung with a printed edition of just over 900,000 copies. (2012). The newspaper is considered to play a major role in public opinion formation and has an EU-critical stance. Kronen Zeitung has among other things has campaigned against immigration and has been criticized for being behind the successes of the right-wing nationalist Freiheitliche Partei Österreich (FPÖ).

A magazine that also has great influence is Der Standard. It is a left-wing liberal and was founded in 1988 by the successful newspaper publisher Oscar Bronner. Other quality newspapers with national distribution are Kurier, Die Presse and Wiener Zeitung. Wiener Zeitung is the oldest newspaper in the world, founded in 1703, and owned by the Austrian state.

The Austrian magazine market is dominated by the Verlagsgruppe News group. The company publishes about ten magazines, including News magazine News with an edition of just over 200,000 copies. (2012). The Group is also a co-owner of the Kurier daily newspaper.

Censorship and other restrictions hampered the proliferation of daily press in Austria until the end of the 19th century. Only when all fees and bans were removed could affordable newspapers be started for a wide audience. The most successful, the Crown Zeitung, was founded in 1900. Freedom of the press was introduced in 1918 but was restricted in 1934 after the assassination of Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss, after which the conditions were further deteriorated. After 1945, the Allies started a series of newspapers but otherwise allowed only parties to own newspapers. Only around 1955 did the daily press regain full freedom.


According to APARENTINGBLOG, Austria has a large and varied cultural offering with everything from building monuments from various historical eras to all kinds of concerts, theater and opera performances, museums and festivals.

The Opera and Opera City Vienna is the center of Austria’s and Europe’s music scene; the gospel choir Wiener Sängerknaben and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra are world famous. In Salzburg, the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, there is the Academy Mozarteum.

Also among the world’s leading composers are Joseph Haydn, Franz Schubert and the Johann Strauss family. Arnold Schönberg, Alban Berg and Anton Webern are considered the founders of modern art music.

Famous authors include Stefan Zweig, Robert Musil, Peter Handke (Nobel Prize in Literature 2019), Marlen Haushofer, Elfriede Jelinek (Nobel Prize in Literature 2004) and Thomas Bernhard. It was also in Vienna that Sigmund Freud developed his psychoanalysis.

Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Alfred Kubin and Oskar Kokoschka are some of the more famous 20th century artists.



The Constitutional Court repeals new laws

December 17

In the course of a week, the Constitutional Court repeals three laws introduced by the former ÖVP-FPÖ government. One law gave security services and police the right to install surveillance software in computers, which could risk not only suspecting criminals, but also other computer users. According to the Court, therefore, the measure violated the European Convention on Human Rights. The Constitutional Court also withdrew partly a law that gave the police access to vehicle data from traffic systems, and also another widely debated law which meant that immigrants could receive social assistance reductions due to insufficient knowledge of German and English.


Imam sentenced to prison for IS recruitment

October 17

A Graz court sentenced an imam to seven years in prison for recruiting IS supporters. A further three men are sentenced to multi-year conditional prison sentences.

Peter Handke receives the Nobel Prize in literature

October 10

Austrian well-known author Peter Handke receives this year’s Nobel Prize in literature. Glove, born in 1942 in the state of Carinthia, now resides outside Paris. He has written a number of novels, poetry and drama since the mid-1960s and has been translated into over 20 languages. However, he is controversial because of his support for the Serbian side during the wars of former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

Sebastian Kurz gets commissioned to form government

October 7

President Alexander Van der Bellen asks OVP’s Sebastian Kurz to start negotiations to form a stable government. Kurz needs to find at least one coalition partner to get a majority in parliament. There are at least three different government alternatives for the ÖVP: a government with the Greens, a coalition with the Social Democratic SPÖ or a cooperation, as in the last government, with the right-wing populist FPÖ.

Strache suspended from his party after corruption suspicions

October 1st

Former FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian Strache is suspended from his party FPÖ. Strache was Vice Chancellor of the former FPÖ-ÖVP government before the so-called Ibiza scandal became his and later also the government’s fall. Prosecutors now announce that Strache is suspected of missing money from FPÖ. If the legal investigation into the charges continues, Strache may be excluded from the party.


Election victory for Kurz and ÖVP

September 29th

Sebastian Kurz and his party ÖVP win the new election with 37 percent of the vote according to preliminary results. The former coalition partner FPÖ, on the other hand, crashes close to 10 percentage points to third place with about 16 percent of the vote. The Social Democratic SPÖ becomes the second largest party with just over 21 percent of the vote, which is, however, the worst result for the party in many years. The Greens manage to take a seat again in Parliament after running for election two years ago.

Parliament ratifies EU-Mercosur trade agreements

September 18

Almost all parties in the National Council say no to a free trade agreement between the EU and Mercosur countries Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina. The trade agreement was signed in June after several years of negotiations. However, in order to enter into force, the agreement must be approved by the European Parliament and all individual EU states. France, Ireland and Luxembourg have also been skeptical of the agreement and suggested that it should be put on ice given the criticism of Brazil’s environmental policy in the Amazon.

ÖVP exposed to hacker attack

September 5

Just a few weeks before the parliamentary elections at the end of September, conservative ÖVP states that the party has been hit by a cyber attack. The attackers have come across large numbers of secret documents, which have been transmitted to the media in the country when they attack the party’s databases. IT security companies have been connected to try to find out who is behind the intrusion.


Parliamentary elections on September 29

June 11

Parliament decides the date on which new elections to Parliament will be held. FPÖ and SPÖ, which together have a majority in parliament, are pushing for the election to take place late September, the 29th. ÖVP and President Alexander Van der Bellen wanted an earlier election date.

New interim government takes office

June 3

In early June, an expedition government with the chair of the Supreme Court Brigitte Bierlein takes over as Chancellor. The new government consists of various experts and will guide the country until general elections have been possible later this year.


A vote of no confidence shuts Kurz and his government

May 27th

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and his technocrat government are forced to resign since the left opposition SPÖ and the small party Jetzt have made a joint case with the FPÖ and voted in favor of two statements of confidence in Parliament. One statement of disbelief is directed at Chancellor Kurz himself and the other against the entire government. It is the first time in the post-war period that a disbelief procedure has set the sitting government down. Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen is now expected to appoint a transitional government with experts who can govern the country until the parliamentary elections are held in September.

ÖVP wins big in EU elections

May 26

Despite the government crisis a few days ago, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s party of ÖVP becomes the biggest in the European elections. The Social Democrats SPÖ had hoped that the video scandal would fade away on both FPÖ’s and ÖVP’s election results. But that is not the case. The ÖVP receives almost 35 percent of the vote, an increase of eight percentage points compared to the 2014 election, which corresponds to seven seats in the European Parliament. SPÖ is allowed to settle for second place with 23 percent of the votes and 5 seats. ÖVP’s former partner FPÖ receives just over 17 percent of the vote and becomes the third largest party with 3 mandates.

Kurz forms a minority government

May 22

A few days after the government coalition between FPÖ and ÖVP broke up, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz forms a minority government. The ministers from the ÖVP retain their positions while independent experts and government officials replace the vacant seats after the FPÖ ministers. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Eckart Ratz, becomes new Minister of the Interior after Heinz-Christian Strache.

The coalition government is cracking down, new elections are waiting

May 20

Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache from the right-wing populist FPÖ resigns after a video recording is spread in which he promises a woman who claims to be a wealthy Russian investor state business contract in exchange for FPÖ receiving support in the 2017 election. Heinz-Christian Strache also leaves her post as party leader for FPÖ and replaced by Norbert Hofer. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz from ÖVP then announces that government cooperation with FPÖ will cease. At a meeting between him and Federal President Alexander van der Bellen, it is decided that a new election will be held in September. Van der Bellen is also in agreement with Kurz’s plans to dismiss Interior Minister Herbert Kickl, who is also party secretary for the FPÖ. Following the announcement that Kickl will be fired, all FPÖ ministers choose to leave the government.

Parliament adopts law against veil in primary school

15th of May

Members of the government parties in parliament vote yes to a law that prohibits the use of “religiously influenced clothing” intended to cover the head of primary school. The text of the law does not explicitly mention Islamic headgear to avoid it being able to appeal as discriminatory to Muslims. But the two government parties ÖVP and FPÖ have made it clear that hijab is intended. The opposition in parliament largely voted no to the law.


Minister of the Interior criticized for attack on “rule of law”

January 24th

Interior Minister Herbert Kickl from the right-wing populist FPÖ is sharply criticized by President Alexander Van der Bellen when he expresses his disdain for the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights (ECHR). The statement that he believes that “it is up to the law to follow politics and not for politics to follow the law” raises strong criticism. Kickl’s statements are made in connection with an interview in which he is asked about curfew for asylum seekers and rapid deportations contrary to the rule of law. A few days later, a vote of no confidence against Kickl is held in Parliament, which the opposition calls for after its questioning of the human rights convention. However, the MPs of the government parties vote down the proposal. It is the sixth distrust so far against Kickl.

Austria Culture

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