Austria TV pulls documentary on Vienna’s black community

Austria TV pulls documentary on Vienna's black community
Photo: Pedro Szekely/Flickr
An Austrian filmmaker has criticised the country's public broadcaster for removing from its schedules at short notice a documentary he made on the history of Vienna's black community.

The film “Black in Vienna — from Soliman to Alaba” was due to go out this Sunday on the ORF 2 channel.

However, filmmaker Teddy Podgorski Jr said he was told last week that the film had been pulled.

He told the Standard newspaper that the documentary had initially “been taken on with great enthusiasm by the relevant editor” and that the decision not to air it was taken “without (giving) more detailed reasons relating to the content”.

As well as recounting the history of Vienna's black residents, Podgorski said the film also featured contributions from the city's black community on “the deep-rooted prejudices” they still face.

In a statement to Austrian media, ORF said: “The documentary as delivered did not meet the commissioned concept in terms of its form, content and technical aspects.”

“After reviewing the film, the transmission date was therefore postponed and the director has been asked to rework the film”.

Podgorski said he had not been told of any such objections. 

ORF has frequently come under attack from the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe), which has been in a coalition government since late last year.

Earlier this year FPOe party head and Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache was forced to apologise to one of ORF's most prominent newscasters, 
Armin Wolf, after sharing a Facebook post which accused Wolf of spreading “lies” and “fake news”.

Podgorski's documentary was meant to be shown as part of a series called “Oesterreich Bild” (Image of Austria). This Sunday's slot will instead be filled by a programme about Vienna's “Heuriger” wine taverns.

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