|Is media ownership transparent?|
According Media Law, as amended in 2011, it is possible to finds out who owns print, online and broadcast media through information reported directly to the public. All media must disclose directly to the public enough information for their real owners to be identified, including information on all shareholdings, beneficial owners back to a real person and those with indirect interests and control.
Information reported to the media authority, the Austrian Communications Authority (KommAustria), under the Audiovisual Media Services Act or Private Radio Broadcast Act will also reveal ownership of the broadcast media.
A review of the websites of 11 print and five broadcast media in late 2014 revealed that broadly speaking the 2011 amendments to the Media Law are being complied with and full ownership information for the media is available online. Two of the broadcast media reviewed failed to disclose any information and three of the print media complied partially, each of them failing to disclose shareholders’ indirect interests in other companies.
This latter omission may be connected to a lack of clarity in one part of the Media Act which was not amended in 2011; the 2011 amendments require all direct and indirect ownership to be identified, back to a real person, irrespective of the size of the shareholding, as well as trusts and silent partnerships. However it is not clear whether all direct and indirect interests of shareholders in other media companies must be disclosed or just where they have a 100% direct shareholding.
|Law||Media covered by law|
|Audiovisual Media Services Act, Official Gazette 84/2001, as amended||TV|
|Private Radio Broadcasting Act, Official Gazette 20/2001, as amended||Radio|
|Federal Law of 12 June, 1981 on the Press and other journalistic Media (Media Law)||Print, broadcast and online media|
|Media Transparency Act, Official Gazette 125/2011||n/a|
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