11 February 2000


Journalist dismissed

Incident details

Gerhard Marschall



Media Release

February 11th 2000

IFJ Protest Over Victimisation of Austrian Journalist

The International Federation of Journalists, the world's largest organisation of journalists, today condemned the victimisation of Gerhard Marschall, a journalist at the leading regional paper Oberösterreichische Nachrichten, who was sacked on the day that the new Austrian government was sworn in.

Marschall, who has written critically about the new Right-wing political coalition in Austria, says the editor and the paper's owner told him that "due to the new political situation I could no longer be afforded". He was told that his style is no longer acceptable, even though he was highly acclaimed for more than five years, not only by readers but also by the paper itself.

"It is a sign of bad times for journalism when a writer is dismissed because his independent and outspoken views don't suit a publisher and editor who are bending in the political wind," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary.

The IFJ has called upon newspaper publishers and media owners in Austria to resist all forms of political pressure and to guarantee the independence of journalism.

"Journalistic independence must not be sacrificed when political changes take place. The right to express opinions - even robust and challenging ideas of opposition - must be ring-fenced to protect journalists from political manipulation," says the IFJ. "Austria's media owners must declare themselves unequivocally in defence of editorial independence."

The IFJ represents more than 450, 000 journalists in 130 unions and associations in 103 countries.


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