In principle, official liability covers the entire official activity of the acting organ. The Supreme Court (Oberster Gerichtshof, OGH) recently had to deal with the question under which conditions statements made in an interview of an organ also count as official activity. The case in question was a television interview of the
Innsbruck mayor in front of a newly constructed building on the subject of a possible vacancy tax in Innsbruck. In this interview, the mayor referred, among other things, to a vacancy survey that had been carried out and stated that about half of the flats in this building were vacant. The builder of this building sued the mayor personally for injunction and revocation of this statement about the vacancy in this building, which the builder considered to be factually incorrect. The mayor's statement was damaging to the credit because "it gave the impression that the flats could not be sold on the market; this deterred potential investors". The mayor objected that he had acted as an organ in the public interest and thus could not be sued personally according to the official liability provisions. The two lower instances actually dismissed the claim because the mayor had acted as an organ in this interview and legal action could not be taken against him personally. The Supreme Court did not share this opinion, but came to the conclusion that the mayor had acted as a private person in this interview. The Supreme Court stated that "interviews are "neutral" actual behaviour that appears to the outside world". Decisive for the attribution of such "informational actual acts". What is your approach to solving this problem - how can classical media improve the discourse?
This is where constructive journalism comes into play, which I have been actively promoting since 2016, also by co-founding my own online magazine, Perspective Daily, at the time the first advertising-free German-language offering for constructive journalism. This puts the question of "What now?" in focus. The results of the Reuters Institute's annual Digital News Report show time and again that users turn away from traditional media mainly because of the negativity and helplessness discussed earlier or because of a lack of solutions. The - meanwhile international - movement of constructive journalism counters the polarisation and the hardening fronts. Globally, we sometimes observe situations in which people can no longer speak to each other because they literally no longer understand each other - like Republicans and Democrats in the USA, for example, where everyone speaks English, but words like wokeness have completely different connotations. Constructive exchange is no longer possible here. With your journalistic approach, you are starting beforehand, so to speak.
The "what now?" approach automatically directs the view to the future and looks at problems differently than traditional journalism usually does. It is important to emphasise that this solution-oriented or constructive approach does not gloss over or ignore problems, but does exactly the opposite: it takes them so seriously that it is inevitable to decide on how to deal with them and potential solutions to the sovereignty administration whether "there is a sufficiently close internal and external connection of the defendant's statement in the incriminated interview to a specific matter to be enforced by sovereignty". In the specific case, the Supreme Court denied this connection, because the sued-for statements of the mayor "can only be seen as an affirmation of the political demand for a vacancy tax for the provincial capital of Innsbruck". According to this decision, statements made by an organ in an interview can thus in principle also trigger claims for official liability, but only if there is a connection with a "sovereign matter".