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Austria far-right leader Strache defuses spat with public broadcaster

By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Vienna (dpa) - Austria‘s far-right leader and Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache has backtracked from a recent attack on public broadcaster ORF, the station‘s top news anchorman Armin Wolf said on Tuesday.

Strache‘s Freedom Party (FPOe) has been putting pressure on ORF since it joined a rightist coalition government late last year, accusing the broadcaster of anti-FPOe coverage and calling for scrapping mandatory viewer fees.

In February, Strache had posted the following on Facebook: "There‘s a place where lies and fake news become news - ORF and Armin Wolf‘s Facebook profile."

Wolf, who had sued Strache for defamation, said Tuesday on Facebook that both men had reached an out-of-court settlement.

"My aim was not to drag a politician to court, but to make clear that there are limits to justified and necessary criticism of journalists and media: When such criticism turns into personal defamation."

The vice chancellor will publish an apology in the Kronen Zeitung tabloid and on his Facebook page, Austrian news agency APA reported, citing Strache‘s spokesman.

In addition, Strache has agreed to pay 10,000 euros (12,300 dollars) as compensation, Wolf said, announcing that he will donate the money to a think tank that monitors far-right and neo-Nazi groups.

ORF has filed a separate lawsuit against Strache and is still engaged in settlement negotiations.

Strache‘s attack against ORF had triggered an outcry not only among Austrian media but also in neighbouring Germany, where leading journalists published an open protest letter in early March.


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