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Austria: Media System

Thomas Steinmaurer


Austria is a parliamentary democratic federal republic with a population of 8.26 million. The official language is German; regional official languages are Croatian, Slovenian, and Hungarian. The historical development of its media system can be divided into the following phases: the period 1621–1848 under the influence of censorship; the abolishment of censorship in the year of the revolution (1848); and the adoption of freedom of opinion and press freedom in the constitution of 1867, which facilitated the development of a modern press in Austria. The elimination of the parliament in 1933 brought measures to regulate the press again, and Austria's annexation by the Third Reich (1938–1945) led to a phase when the press was controlled by a totalitarian regime. After this there was a time of prosperous development with increasing modernization ( Schmolke 1996 ). The beginnings of broadcasting in Austria date back to 1924, when the Radio-Verkehrs-Aktiengesellschaft (RAVAG) started its operations. Initially founded as a monopoly with close proximity to the state, RAVAG was easily incorporated into the Third Reich broadcasting company in 1938. After World War II, broadcasting was constituted as a monopoly company under governmental influence in 1957. The public broadcaster Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF), founded later, emanated from this station, and held a monopoly position until ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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