The Austria Press Council, a regulatory body of sorts that designates basic standards for journalists in Austria, has prepared a checklist of guidelines for reporting on the refugee crisis in Europe.
Published in late November, the checklist specifically featured 10 questions that Austrian journalists were to ask themselves prior to publishing a story about refugees.
“Have I checked whether my reporting/my word choice/my photo selection reinforces prejudice?” read one question, as reported by a translation of the Austrian newspaper Der Standard.
“Have I examined whether I can omit information that might stir up prejudices without altering the meaning and truthfulness of the story or affecting the understanding of the readers?” read another.
It sounded almost as if the the council wanted journalists to censor their presentations of the facts — even if that meant not informing the public of crimes being committed by migrants — so as to avoid inciting anti-migrant “prejudice” among the Austrian people.
This particular question was especially telling: “Did I consider whether my reporting/my word choice/my photo selection could offend someone?”
But who cares? The purpose of journalism ought to be to convey valid information to the public, regardless of whom that information might offend.
Sadly, the Austria Press Council has decided otherwise, going so far as to slam an editorial in NEWS magazine last month for allegedly fostering “prejudices and fears,” according to the Austria Press Agency.
All the NEWS commentator had done, however, was argue — which is what commentators do — that Muslim migrants were not integrating into Europe but rather saturating the continent and beginning to take over.
Apparently even opinions needed to be censored, because heaven forfend that any poor soul read something that might offend his sensibilities.
Pay close heed to this story, because this is what true fascism and totalitarianism looks like — and if Americans do not continue to push back against such political correctness, it could one day become the norm here as well.
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