XXXX SAST REPORT XXXX MONDAY MAY 28, 2001 XXXX
AUSTRIA - JOURNALISTS ARRESTED!
Pressions juridiques et administratives
SCHWAZ, Austria -- The political editor and the diplomatic writer were arrested on 28 May 2001 at 13:30 EST by police, after having filed a lawsuit to try to get back some of their stolen money, personal belongings and professional equipment.
After two hours they were released.
At the station they were told, that they will be facing criminal prosecution regarding grievious bodily harm. They were threatened with imprisonment if they do not enter into negotiations with the authorities. SAST REPORT notes that the profession and the duty of the journalist is to inform, not to be forced to behave as an auxiliary of the justice system or the police, and that the principle of the protection of confidential sources is the only guarantee of independent investigative journalism.
"This is not the first time that journalists are arrested by the police, and even face criminal prosecution by Justicia, in Austria, which is supposed to protect media professionals," noted Sachsenmaier. "Austria ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which guarantees freedom of expression."
The authorities use a range of devices to calm down the new generation of journalists. Various cases illustrate well what they are confronted with - lack of independent courts, difficulty of raising sensitive topics such as the assassination of "sad" and "stray dogs", growing interference by state security agents, threats, harassment, summonses and legal action, pressure from being spied on, confiscation of equipment and the smashing in of office doors.
In an article published on 22 May 2001 SAST REPORT called into question the authorities' responsibility in one of the country's biggest sleaze scandals and the assassination of a "sad dog".
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