Austria’s historic newspaper, Wiener Zeitung, which is one of the world’s oldest newspapers still in print, will primarily transition to an online format following a decision made by the country’s parliament on Thursday.
This development represents the final resolution of a longstanding dispute between the Austrian government and the newspaper regarding the future of this state-owned daily. Originally established in 1703 as the Wiennerisches Diarium and later renamed Wiener Zeitung in 1780, this bi-weekly paper, which was previously privately owned, was nationalized by Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria in 1857, thereby becoming the official gazette of the country.
Norbert Hofer, the third president of the parliament, confirmed that a new law to primarily shift the publication online, starting from July 1, was adopted with a majority vote. The newspaper will still maintain a minimum of ten print editions per year, depending on the available funds.
According to the World Association of News Publishers, Wiener Zeitung was ranked in 2004 as one of the oldest newspapers still in circulation. Its role as the official gazette, which serves as its main source of revenue, will now be transferred to a separate state-owned online platform.
The government’s justification for this move is aligned with a European directive to centralize and publish official information online. Meanwhile, Wiener Zeitung plans to establish a media hub, a content agency, and a training center for journalists.