Media lawyer Hans Peter Lehofer expressed concerns in an online report by “Standard” that the impression of an “auxiliary or announcement body” could arise. The FPÖ and NEOS also criticized. The ORF insisted on its independence and referred to a first conversation next week. Lehofer pointed out in the “Standard” that the ORF federal and state authorities only had to make broadcasting time available for “calls in crises and disasters and other important messages to the general public”. “Organizing lotteries at the request of the federal government is not one of them,” said the legal expert. Any change to the ORF law to that effect would be a “dangerous signal”: “Then the impression could arise that the ORF would be something like an auxiliary or announcement body of the federal government, and that’s exactly what a public broadcaster shouldn’t be.”
“Take note of requests”
The ORF emphasized in a statement sent to the APA on Saturday that “to take note of the plans for a vaccination fleet announced by the federal government and the SPÖ and the associated request for the ORF to participate”. A first meeting will take place next week. “The ORF will examine the relevant legal basis for any support and decide on participation,” it said. The extent of any involvement depends on the legal possibilities and the corresponding resources. “In any case, the independence of the ORF must be fully preserved,” it emphasizes.
FP-Kickl: “No legal basis”
FPÖ boss Herbert Kickl shot himself at the country’s largest media company on Saturday. “I expect immediate information from the ORF management as to how the lottery can be carried out from their point of view on the basis of the existing legal basis in the ORF law and the internal specifications of the ORF,” he called for an “immediate statement” and information about it via broadcast how the planned integration of the ORF came about. “It cannot be that the government is clearly misusing the ORF, contrary to the legal basis, for very obvious vaccination propaganda and that the ORF is also willing to do it,” said Kickl.
NEOS media spokeswoman Henrike Brandstötter is also not entirely comfortable with the suggestion. The government should not use the ORF “quite naturally” for the vaccination fleet. “The ORF is not an auxiliary body of the federal government,” she was quoted in the online “Standard”.