Austrian far-right chief, TV anchor settle lawsuit over fake news jibe

From Reuters - March 13, 2018

VIENNA (Reuters) - The far-right deputy leader of Austrias government has agreed to apologize and pay damages to a top news anchor after accusing him and national broadcaster ORF of lying, the presenter said on Tuesday, announcing a settlement.

Last month Freedom Party leader and Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache posted a picture on Facebook of the TV news anchor, Armin Wolf, with the inscription:There is a place where lies become news. That place is ORF.

In a speech the next day, Strache, who has long accused ORF of left-wing bias, said the posting was a prank since it was labeledSatire! He also said he wanted to scrap the license fee that funds ORF and force it to reportobjectively as part of government plans to reform the broadcaster.

Wolf, the presenter, filed a defamation suit against Strache before a criminal court, after which ORF took the exceptional step of filing its own civil suit against the vice chancellor. Straches party is the junior coalition partner to Chancellor Sebastian Kurzs conservatives.

My aim was not to drag a politician before the courts but to make clear that ... there are limits to criticism of the work done by journalists and the media, namely the point at which it becomes personally defamatory, Wolf said in a blog posting announcing that he had reached a settlement with Strache.

Mr Strache has now accepted these limits and he will alsoannounce that to a large public audience, Wolf said, showing a text Strache had agreed to pin to the top of his Facebook page for 10 days and have published on page 3 of the countrys top-selling tabloid.


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