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Von: Eurolang (Brigitte Alfter)
Name des Remote-Computers: 220.127.116.11
The long-anticipated closure of independent minority radio stations in Austria has come a step closer. Editorial staff members at Antenne 4 in Burgenland have been laid off and multilingual talk programmes will be seriously curtailed from Monday.
Josko Vlasic, former Director and current Editor-in-chief of Antenne 4, is seriously disappointed. Along with two other minority stations, the station had been promised funding by the former government. However according to an announcement from the current government received by the broadcasters yesterday, the subventions have been ended.
Vlasic has now resigned as Director but intends to continue as Editor-in-Chief if the talk programmes, targetted at young listeners and focusing on regional issues, succeed in re-establishing broadcasts. Two radio stations in Carinthia are also threatened with closure following yesterday's announcement, but they expect to continue broadcasting until the end of the month. (...)
'The short-term situation looks very bad, in spite of several interventions by the Federal President and others,' says Marjan Pipp, Director of Radio Korotan in Klagenfurt. According to Pipp, the long-term plan is the government's revision of the law on public service broadcasting granting increased involvement to the minorities. This has been requested by minority groups for a long time, he says. 'I do not understand the political assessments of the Austrian government,' Pipp says, referring to the comparably low budget of the minority stations. The funding for all three stations has been at 15 million Austrian Schillings (1,090,092 Euro); this year it has been reduced to 10 million (726,728 Euro) and next year it will be stopped entirely.
Chairperson of the human rights committee of the Austrian Parliament, Green MP Terezija Stoisits, earlier criticised the Federal government for their use of 'symbolic gestures' to increase minorities' legal protection while simultaneously starving their media to death. It has not been possible to obtain a comment from the responsible spokesperson at the Chancellor's office.