Austrian Leader Calls for Snap Election After Far-Right Vice Chancellor Resigns – The New York Times

Mr. Kurz won in 2017 by giving a youthful repackaging to much of the agenda of the Freedom Party, which he then invited into a coalition government.

At one point in the video, Mr. Strache compared journalists to prostitutes. He also said he would like Austria’s news media landscape to resemble that of neighboring Hungary, where Prime Minister Viktor Orban turned the country’s public media into a pro-government propaganda machine while allies have gradually bought up swathes of the private media sector.

“We want to build a media landscape like Orban did,” Mr. Strache says in the video, floating the idea of partly privatizing Austria’s public broadcaster and encouraging a suggestion by his Russian counterpart to take over Austria’s most influential tabloid.

“If she takes over the Krone newspaper three weeks before election and brings us to spot number one, then we can talk about anything,” Mr. Strache says.

Mr. Strache’s dismissive comments about journalists and casual planning to undermine Austria’s media freedom are seen as ominous. Last year, an internal memo circulated by the press chief of the Interior Ministry, which is controlled by the Freedom Party, instructed officials to shut out critical news media and reward those that provided favorable coverage with access.

Since then, the party has proposed replacing the broadcast fee that Austrians pay the public broadcaster directly with a tax-funded model that would give the government more control over the outlet.

In recent weeks, a senior Freedom Party official has also demanded the removal of a television news anchor on Austria’s public broadcaster who had challenged him about a campaign poster that many said was reminiscent of Nazi propaganda.

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