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Austrian court ends Facebook ban for broadcaster

July 26, 2013

VIENNA (AP) — Austria’s Constitutional Court has overturned a ruling blocking state broadcaster ORF from having Facebook pages, disagreeing with complaints from private media that it gave the outlet an unfair competitive edge.

Austrian newspaper publishers complained two years ago that the ORF did not have legal rights to have a presence on social media and was expanding its presence unlawfully. A lower court agreed and banned ORF from having an official page on Facebook.

The Constitutional Court found Friday that the ban contradicts the right to freedom of speech and of broadcasting. It also said the ban was a disproportionate response to the complaint.

Responding to private media concerns, ORF head Alexander Wrabetz says the broadcaster’s websites on Facebook will not be turned into commercial ventures.

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