5.1.9 Language laws
The new Broadcasting Act (2001) stipulates that the ORF is obliged to ensure that "all aspects of democratic life are to be understood by the public", and an appropriate share of their programming has to be broadcast in the language of ethnic minorities. Although there is regulatory support for programmes broadcast in the languages of ethnic minorities, the article is general and the management can apply it "as appropriate", which means without obligation. The third radio programme is required to broadcast mainly in a foreign language (English).
Since the passage of the Private Broadcasting Act in 1998, many small (non-commercial) free radio stations have been founded and currently provide programmes for (national) minorities and immigrants – e.g. Radio Orange (free radio Vienna), Radio Mora (Croatian private radio station, run by the Croatian cultural centre Kuga in Burgenland) or radio Korotan / Radio Agora (the two Slovenian radio stations in Carinthia). Until 2001, such broadcasts were supported by the federal government. Since then, these free radio stations have been continually struggling and Radio Mora has been forced to close down due to financial reasons. In 2009, the 14 free radio stations are to receive support funds of EUR 300 000. In 2010 a total sum of almost EUR 1 560 000 was paid out by the "Fund for the promotion of non-commercial private broadcasting" (see chapter 5.3.7). For the first time it concerns the payment according to the directives notified by the European Commission in early 2010 and which are based on § 9i of the KommAustria Act. The broadcasting and telecommunications regulator Rundfunk- und Telekom Regulierungs GmbH (RTR) welcomed this decision as a confirmation of the diverse range of programmes that non-commercial broadcasters provide for all age groups and target groups and for immigrants in their various languages.
The first Austrian Community TV channel ("Okto TV") started in 2005. This open-channel TV programme is supported by the City of Vienna (EUR 980 000) and provides space for programmes in languages other than German. With DORF, a further free, user-generated television broadcaster was established in 2010 in Upper Austria, which is funded by Linz City Council, the province of Upper Austria and from the "Fund for the promotion of non-commercial private broadcasting" (see chapter 5.3.7).