Accountability systems

Violations of personal rights or a breach of the journalist's code of ethics are handled by the Press Council (Presserat). Its operation was suspended between 2002 and 2010 due to disputes among its members. Its verdicts are not legally binding and its decisions often require wrongdoing media to publish the decision. Not all Austrian newspapers are members of the Press Council and many do not obey to these self-regulatory rules. The most prominent absentees from membership in the Press Council are the largest daily newspapers Kronenzeitung, Heute and Oesterreich.

In 2008, the PR Ethik Rat was implemented by two trade organisation in the field of public relations. The self-regulatory council on PR ethics watches over violations of ethical codes and legal provisions. The council’s members act on complaints by citizens and organization who assume to have observed or suffered from ethical wrongdoings by public relation practices, such as, for example, missing declaration of commercial messages as advertising in print or online publications. Decisions of the Council are published with no further legal consequences.