Austria’s Kurz accused of ‘Orbanisation of Austria’ after media freedom award

“Kurz is continuously undermining the pillars of our democracy and attacks our constitutional state as well as press freedom,” the opposition politician claimed.   [EPA-EFE/LUKAS BARTH-TUTTAS]

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has been awarded a media freedom prize by a German publisher at the Ludwig-Erhard-Summit, a move which leading Austrian politician Christian Deutsch has called “absurd” and accused Kurz of pushing towards an “Orbanisation of Austria”.

“Kurz is continuously undermining the pillars of our democracy and attacks our constitutional state as well as press freedom,” said Deutsch, who is one of the leading figures of the opposition SPÖ.

Kurz was selected by an anonymous jury for his commitment as a “bridge-builder in Europe” and an ambassador for freedom. Presenting the award, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis praised the chancellor’s pragmatism and “constructive dissent.”

Rubina Möhring, head of Reporters Without Borders’ Austria, wrote in an op-ed that “the only bridges Kurz has built in recent years are to the likes of Viktor Orban or Donald Trump.”

Austria’s World Press Freedom Score has declined continuously in recent years with the country now ranking 17th, down from seventh place in 2015.  (Oliver Noyan | EURACTIV.com)

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