Presserat reprimands Oe24.at and heute.at for soldiers’ celebration videos

The press council has reprimanded the news sites Oe24.at and Heute.at for videos of a soldiers’ celebration they distributed. It shows young men partying naked, some of them naked. In the opinion of the self-regulatory body, the two tabloid media violated their privacy and privacy and thus points 5 and 6 of the code of honor for the Austrian press.

The video material was recorded in January in a barracks in Burgenland – at that time the young men celebrated the completion of their training as professional soldiers and thus violated the CoV measures that were valid at the time. The recordings were initially distributed within the armed forces and later shared on social networks. One of the celebrants has meanwhile committed suicide.

Several readers turned to the press council and criticized the distribution of the video. The self-regulatory body then initiated a procedure in which the media owner of Oe24.at took part. Nobody from heute.at took the opportunity.

The lawyer from Oe24.at objected that the video had been published on Oe24.at/video, but that the media owner was a different company. This did not submit to the code of honor for the Austrian press. He also noted that everyone involved had been completely pixelated and the video was now offline.

Senate rejects Oe24 reasoning

According to Senate 1, Oe24.at content from Oe24.at/video must, from an ethical point of view, be attributed to, for example, daily takeovers and links as well as the fact that it is a subpage of the main page. Showing a young person naked and drunk is undoubtedly compromising.

Pixelation does not change anything, since the person can still be identified by at least a limited group of people, the press council stated in a broadcast. The young age of the soldiers depicted should also have prompted the two media to refrain from publication (Section 6.3 of the Code of Ethics). Dissemination of the material on social networks does not automatically justify redistribution.

According to Senate 1, video distribution primarily served to satisfy the voyeurism and sensational interests of certain users. Oe24.at and heute.at did not fulfill their filter function.

The press council positively noted that the video contributions have meanwhile been removed from the media. Nevertheless, the media owners of Oe24.at and the free daily newspaper “Heute” are requested to voluntarily report on the ethics violation. Both recognize the arbitration of the press council.

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