At the Concordia award ceremony, ORF editor spokesman Dieter Bornemann criticized the increasing influence of politics on the media.
On Monday evening, the Concordia prizes for extraordinary journalistic achievements were awarded in parliament. And on the occasion there was strong criticism of the political influence on the ORF. Because the winner in the category of freedom of the press was Dieter Bornemann. The chairman of the ORF editorial board, who repeatedly expresses himself with critical comments on what is going on in and around the ORF, received the award for his efforts to ensure the independence of the ORF. In his acceptance speech, Bornemann warned against filling important ORF management positions according to “political color theory” and called for a reform of the board of trustees.
Bornemann said his “great joy” about the award was clouded by his anger at the domestic media policy. Economic pressure is melting newsrooms like glaciers, while a “tidal wave” of propaganda and PR from ministries, parties and companies inundates them with their spin. Instead of open press conferences, there are background talks to which selectively invited. In interviews, critical questions are quickly viewed as an “enemy” who has to be cut off from the flow of information, criticized Bornemann. “Many people in politics have apparently already said goodbye to independent, critical reporting,” he said, warning that the media “are mutating more and more into a tool of politics”.
“Whom Chancellor Kurz would like to have at the executive chair”
He also did not exclude his employer. The upcoming ORF election is “unfortunately not about the best ideas”, but about who “Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz would like to have on the executive chair”. The Board of Trustees only makes formal decisions. The body needs reform and must be based on a broad civil society base Bornemann demanded. The planned multimedia newsroom will “probably not” bring more pluralism, rather it should “above all be faster and more efficient.” If the newly emerging management positions are not assigned according to qualifications, but “according to political color theory” the newsroom “has no great future”. “The ORF must not be ruined by short-term party political interests,” said Bornemann.
“He courageously defends the ORF journalists against unjustified attacks from outside and inside, regardless of his personal career,” said jury chairman Heide Schmidt, explaining the decision in favor of Bornemann. In his laudation, “ZiB2” anchor Armin Wolf praised him as a tireless and intrepid fighter for the ORF and his colleagues. With his commitment, he ensures that the ORF editorial statutes are lived.
“Profile” team wins in the human rights category
A “profil” team consisting of the foreign policy department head Robert Treichler, Emran Feroz and Sayed Jalal Shajjan received an award in the human rights category for their report “The man from nowhere”. It tells the story of the refugee Yusuf, whose identity and origin are unclear. The jury praised the text as a “carefully researched and finely drawn portrait of an asylum seeker who gets by without clichés and gives space to the protagonist as well as the arguments of the asylum authorities”.
The “profil” columnist Georg Hoffmann-Ostenhof gave the laudation for Treichler. His sober, straightforward, non-moralizing style is what makes the text so strong. “Anyone who reads the text understands that human rights must not be tied to the will to integrate. They must also apply to the man from nowhere,” said Hoffmann-Ostenhof. Treichler delivers “reliably well-written reports that do not take sides”. He leaves the conclusions to the readers. “Treichler honors honest, educational quality journalism that we urgently need at this time,” said the “profil” columnist.