Austrian leader defends press freedom after email leak

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BERLIN – Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz says that restricting press freedom is unacceptable after reports that an interior ministry official had suggested police limit communication with critical media to a minimum.

Kurz’s comments on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly came after the Der Standard and Kurier newspapers said they obtained an email from the official to regional police complaining of “very one-sided and negative reporting.”

The Austria Press Agency reported Tuesday that Kurz said “there can be no exclusion or boycott of selected media in Austria. That goes for those in charge of communication at all ministries and public institutions.”

The interior ministry is run by the far-right Freedom Party, Kurz’s junior coalition partner. The ministry said the email contained suggestions but no orders.

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