State TV Censures Critical Comment

Country: Austria

Date of incident: February 1, 2006

Austrian public broadcast ORF deletes a polite comment from an online debate which criticises the mainstream. Vienna, Austria.

Every year a large society event called the "LifeBall" takes place in Vienna, Austria. Its goal is to raise funds for and awareness of HIV/AIDS patients as well as the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-and transsexual)-lifestyle. The ball consists of outlandish outfits that show much skin as well as suggest various sexual acts. The event was discussed in an online forum of the Austrian Public Broadcast ORF website. Johannes Graf, a young Austrian intellectual, posted the following comment: "Fällt es wirklich niemand auf, dass beim LifeBall genau der Lebensstil zur Schau gestellt wird, der die Ausbreitung von AIDS fördert? Dass Kondome nicht einmal bei richtiger Anwendung zu 100% vor einer Übertragung schützen, sollte sich ja mittlerweile herumgesprochen haben.“ (Translation: "Doesn't anyone notice that the lifestyle portrayed by LifeBall is exactly the lifestyle which leads to more HIV infections? That condoms do not protect 100% - even if used properly - is already widely know!") The webmaster deleted the comment several times and answered upon being asked by email: „Aufgrund von Beiträgen, die den Richtlinien der nicht entsprechen, wurde Dein Nickname bis ... gesperrt.“ (Translation: "Your user name was blocked until ... because your comments do not live up to the guidelines of the ORF online community.")