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Austrian Chancellor Karl NehammerGetty Images

VIENNA (LifeSiteNews) —The National Council of Austria has modified the country’s legislation on media and audio-visual content to align itself with European Union (EU) regulations, sanctions, and censorship decisions.  

“Whoever is in contravention of directly applicable EU regulations is guilty of an administrative offense and is liable to a fine of up to 50,000 euros,” reads the text of the new law, which was signed by Austrian president Alexander Van der Bellen and Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer on April 13.  

According to German news website Infosat, the aim of the amendment was to prohibit the dissemination of the Russian state media channels Sputnik and RT in Austria in accordance with an EU ban. 

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Some in Austria, however, have criticized this change, which they see as a violation of Austria’s sovereignty and a means to introduce EU censorship and media control through the backdoor.  

With the change of this law, the Austrian National Council quietly provided the European Union with a dangerous possibility for censorship in Austria,” Alexander Tschugguel’s St. Boniface Institute argued in a May 2 press statement.  

The St. Boniface Institute strongly condemns the amendment of the Audiovisual and Media Services Law which automatically recognizes all of the EU’s censorship decisions and will punish failure to comply with the censorship with administrative penalties of up to 50.000€,” the statement reads, adding that the amendment represents a significant violation of our sovereignty. 

The institute concluded its statement by calling for “an immediate abolition of this controversial regulation.” 

The institute’s founder, Alexander Tschugguel, took to Twitter to condemn the amendment.  

“Obviously, the official [reason] for this is that Russian propaganda media is not allowed to be spread, but we all know where this will lead to,” Tschugguel warned.  

He then compared the new legislation to U.S. President Joe Biden’s recent creation of a so-called Disinformation Governance Board, which Tschugguel referred to as a “ministry of truth,” but argued that the Austrian legislation is worse, given that “it is not the Austrian parliament that is deciding what is ok or not ok to watch but that the European Union is deciding.” 

“The Austrians just handed one of the most important aspects of political culture to the European Union,” said Tschugguel, lamenting that “the European Union now has the right to censor whatever they want without any legitimation for it.”