Austrian newspaper founded in 1703 will shut down its presses on July 1
< /p> UPDATE DAY
It was founded in 1703, during the time of the Habsburg Empire, and survived the turmoil of history, but after years of uncertainty, the paper edition of the Viennese newspaper Wiener Zeitung will finally disappear.
The Austrian Parliament voted on Thursday a law on the media, including a clause signing the end as of July 1 of this daily newspaper among the oldest in the world, according to the World Association of Newspapers (WAN).
However, it will continue to exist on the Internet, with the possibility of occasional print publications “depending on the funds available”.
The newspaper, born under the name Wiennerisches Diarium before being renamed in 1780, had been nationalized in the 19th century by François-Joseph 1er and currently belonged to the Republic of Austria.
In addition to the purely editorial part remained independent, it served since then as an official journal, publishing legal texts and information relating to Austrian companies.
Rene Rainer, from the National Library of Austria, shows a copy of the 28 June 1914 announcing the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
Wiener Zeitung lives mainly on income from this activity, but it will now be entrusted to an online platform, the government explaining that it acted under a European directive on digital tools.
The editorial denounced before the vote a “destructive” project which deprives it of sufficient funds to continue printing the daily.
The rich brand of 320 years of history will certainly survive, “but no one knows what the future of the publication will be: will it still be rigorous journalism”, protests deputy editor Mathias Ziegler.
“We have always said that we have to find other sources of funding, but the problem has never been tackled seriously in the past,” he told AFP.
Nearly half of the 200 employees, including 40 journalists, could be made redundant, according to the union.
Current circulation is 20,000 on weekdays, a figure which doubles at the weekend.
Several hundred people took to the streets on Tuesday, in a final attempt to “save the newspaper”. “Democracy needs quality media,” read a banner, as the Austrian tabloid press has been rocked in recent months by corruption scandals.
Interviewed by the APA agency , European Commission Vice-President Vera Jourova regretted the outcome, hailing “the useful role” played by Wiener Zeitung over the years.