ÖVP-affiliated tabloid Express commissioned the INSA opinion research institute to conduct a survey on public broadcasting, which basically confirmed what could be heard in many individual conversations. Only 40 percent of Austrians consider ORF to be neutral – although it is unclear whether those surveyed answered this out of fear of repression or out of honest belief. The high number of undecided people, at 21 percent, also speaks in favor of the fear theory.
A comment from Willi Huber
The barbed wire in the minds of fellow citizens, that is, the self-imposed barrier to speaking the truth openly about obvious problems, is growing every day. The situation is already reminiscent of the GDR, where false opinion led to state corrective measures and imprisonment. After illegal mass migration and the corona circus of over three years, this comes as no surprise. Many people would prefer to have “no opinion” on political issues. Because wrong opinion can cost you your job.
Of the 1,000 people surveyed, only 790 wished to comment – 210 responded with “don’t know/no answer”. At first glance, this question doesn’t seem too intriguing: “How do you assess ORF’s political reporting – left-wing, right-wing, or neutral?”
Only 29 percent would consider the broadcaster, known for decades as the “Red Funk”, as left-leaning. A sensational 10 percent consider the reporting to be “rather right-wing.” It would be interesting to find out where these ten percent lie on the party spectrum.
Allegedly 40 percent for “neutral reporting”
Forty percent of those surveyed would still consider ORF neutral today. Of course, neutral journalism was never found in ORF – this is hardly possible when management positions are traditionally filled with politicians. Report24 has had the opportunity to interview former ORF employees on several occasions:
An ethical picture emerges from interviews as well as conversations conducted without cameras and recording devices. Undoubtedly, political interference is the trend these days. This especially happens in state studios depending on the politics of the respective state.
Particularly dramatic is the fact that ORF often relies on the work of the APA press agency or adapts its material. APA is 45.6 percent owned by ORF, but is not under any control. With APA content, the reader, listener or viewer may never know who the journalist is behind the text. Complaints regarding inaccurate or biased reporting are not possible through the ORF supervisory authority comAustria or the private association Presserat. The fact that anyone in Austria uses the phrase “independent and objective journalism” in this regard is sheer derision.
Overall, we do not believe that the quoted INSA survey accurately reflects the opinions of Austrians. However, this is in line with the trend of other surveys, such as those available through Statista. In the winter of 21/22, 64 percent of those asked the question answered that they would trust television, 67 percent trusted radio. Although these are surveys that include private broadcasters, one can assume that means the majority of ORFs.
May 2023: 56% lose trust in ORF
A survey done by the market in early 2023 is somewhat different. Of those questioned here, 56 per cent said they had lost trust in ORF. The rapid loss of confidence may also be related to the fact that the public has to pay for government propaganda through the state broadcaster itself. And this is in addition to an already absurdly high tax burden with GIS fees, which have just been reformed and ORF is being blessed with an additional million-dollars. If you do not want to pay, you may even have to go to jail. Something like this is more than unfit for democracy – and being forced into a contract that only benefits one party violates even human rights.