New Media Order to strengthen Democracy and Freedom of Expression

In his opening speech at the European Tolerance Talks in the Carinthian mountain village of Fresach, the editor of the Vienna city newspaper FALTER, Armin Thurnher, called for a Europe-wide strengthening of public broadcasting as a counterweight to the global power of the tech giants. For him, it is “completely otherworldly that our rulers do not even begin to recognize what today’s media question is about – namely the (naked) existence of democracy,” said Thurnher.
Regarding the Austrian situation, the proven media critic said that he “considers it a democratic political scandal that all Austrian governments since Bruno Kreisky have misused public broadcasting for party political purposes” and, moreover, “a cultural disgrace that the ORF’s leading staff does not recognize what this station is all about and is therefore systematically ruining it.
Thurnher warned against sacrificing democratic achievements in favor of a right-wing libertarian utopia of a strong digital state that should only be strong in order to “make the global market favorable for the tech giants”. He was alarmed by the looming vision of a “managed autocracy that is able to use social engineering to control society and thereby simulate democracy.”
Despite many initiatives and EU regulations to curb the power of tech companies, one of Karl Kraus’ words regarding digital media needs to be updated, said Thurnher: “The digital media have no excesses, they are one.” In the early days of FALTERS, media criticism was at best scolding of colleagues, said Thurnher. But today it’s about the political destructiveness of digital media and the destruction of democracy. The citizens, who have become tired, no longer have any idea of Europe. Read more on pressetext.


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