Steger's attack marks the latest escalation in a month's long feud between the broadcaster and the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ), the junior partner in Austria's governing coalition.
Read more: Opinion: EU unimpressed by Austria's shift to the right
Steger's threats against the public broadcasterIn an interview with Austria's Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper, Steger said:
- The ORF was "biased" in its reporting of the recent parliamentary election in Hungary, which was won by the right-wing nationalist incumbent Viktor Orban.
- Foreign correspondents who "do not behave correctly" would risk losing their jobs.
- ORF journalists who violate the company's social media guideline "will receive a warning — and then be dismissed."
'A new low in media policy'Alexander Wrabetz, the General director of ORF, promptly responded to Steger's remarks, tweeting: "16 ORF offices are an indispensable, highly valued pillar of international reporting on TV, radio and online."
ORF editorial board member Dieter Bornemann described the attacks on the broadcaster by its own supervisory body as "a new low in media policy."
Armin Wolf, one of ORF's most well-known television presenters, said that it was not within the board's remit to deliver warnings or dismiss individual reporters. "Great idea letting party representatives judge what qualifies as 'objective.' An idea possibly inspired by Hungary."