For State Secretary Karoline Edtstadler (ÖVP), a separate Public Prosecution Service for the prosecution of hate online, comparable to the Public Prosecution Service for economic and corruption, is conceivable. Demands were recently made for the establishment of such a prosecution authority following the threats against the late Upper Austrian physician Lisa-Maria Kellermayr. Social media expert Ingrid Brodnig also argues for such a public prosecutor.
According to Edtstadler, the problem of hate messages and threats on the internet is “very, very much bigger than we have estimated and estimated in the past or even now”. In this regard, the ÖVP minister would “say that there are no prohibitions to think in this area. Anything that helps address these hate-on-the-net stuff as quickly as possible and prevent such escalations as we’ve experienced should be helpful. But that needs to be discussed in detail,” Edtstadler explained on Saturday at “Ö1”.
Advantages of specialized prosecutors
Brodnig also argues for a separate Public Prosecution Service, specialized in hate online, that sees two advantages in this. “First of all, chances are they have lawyers there who have an idea of social media, including the internet, of logic and also of technical ideas, for example how to find out who is behind an email. , how can I almost get to the person who writes something so criminal,” said the expert, also on “Ö1”. And secondly, you can then assume that you will meet people who take such offenses very seriously. There are big differences, says Brodnig: “There are prosecutors who follow individual cases very strictly, precisely. And then there are other cases where such advertisements are placed very quickly. And if the prosecutor is responsible and does nothing further, you have you may not feel like it’s a lottery anymore, but you end up with professionals who know their business and hopefully take this subject very seriously.”
shortcomings in many areas
Lawyer and media law expert Maria Windhager also welcomes the proposal. According to her: “It shows that implementation and enforcement are not working well at the moment, and that is certainly also due to a lack of expertise, a lack of interest and understanding of the problem. Everything that comes with specialization here is therefore absolutely welcome.” Lawyer Katharina Bisset, who specializes in IT law, would specialize even earlier, namely at the police station. It is important to have knowledge of the individual police officers.
Austrians for tougher sentences
According to a survey by the opinion polling institute Unique Research for the news magazine ‘profil’, 88 percent of Austrians are in favor of harsher punishments for threats and excessive profanity on the Internet. 64 percent are “definitely” in favour, 24 percent are “rather yes”. Five percent said they “prefer not” to face harsher sentences, three percent “definitely not”. The rest gave no information. 500 people were surveyed, the fluctuation range is plus/minus four percent.