Austrian TV journalists slam 'political interference'

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Austrian TV journalists slam 'political interference'

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Journalists at Austria’s public broadcaster are angry about alleged political interference.

They have signed an online YouTube petition against the appointment of a 25-year-old to a senior management post.

Staff are aggrieved ORF’s director-general named a chief of staff with no previous journalistic experience.

Alexander Wrabetz decision to pick Niko Pelinka to run his office has raised concerns that this is a political appointment.

Pelinka once worked as a spokesman for the ruling centre-left Social Democratic Party and is close to its leadership.

He campaigned for Wrabetz to be reappointed as ORF chief six months ago.

Opposition politicians have echoed the concerns of staff that Pelinka’s nomination is an attempt to inject bias into the channel’s political coverage.

Austrian writer Elfriede Jelinek has gone even futher.

The Nobel Prize laureate believes Pelinka’s rapid rise to the top of her country’s media industry spells “the end of social democracy” in Austria.

She has sardonically branded the twenty-something former activist as “Little King Niko.”