The Australian Parliament has passed a media bill forcing tech giants such as Facebook and Google to pay media publishers for their news content. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is already in talks with politicians from India, Canada, France and the UK. Are there similar views in Austria?
Brandstatter: “I think it would be pointless for Austria to take such steps alone. I think it is positive that people are defending themselves against monopoly technology. As we know from American history using the example of AT&T, monopolies can break through legal methods. We have to solve this problem at European level. Two points are particularly important: these platforms must pay the corresponding taxes here and also take responsibility for their content. ”
Why do you think that the European Union has not yet succeeded in developing its own European platform economy (eg Facebook & Co)?
Brandstatter: “It should not be forgotten that Silicon Valley was initially largely supported by the state and the US military. We were just too slow in Europe, and now it is not possible to find a European copy-model, because it would have to operate globally like the American competition. The Chinese may have their own forums, but they censor content they do not want. I dare not speculate if there will ever be a European Google. Above all, we must ensure that the current regulations work, especially in relation to consumer protection and tax payments. “
Despite the epidemic and Brexit, London’s tech companies invested $ 10.5 billion in 2020; This means that the British capital remains the undisputed leading technology hub in Europe. To what extent will England depart to slow technological development in the European Union?
Brandstatter: “I don’t think the big tech companies will continue to work together in Europe and work internationally. Whoever believes that they can manufacture “department store Austria” as a state is certainly completely wrong. This will be a huge opportunity for young entrepreneurs who can be enthusiastic about this idea. Especially in Austria, it is clearly not possible to inspire young people to invent something new technically. ”
Why do you feel this way?
Brandstatter: “Because we have an incredibly strong history of state control and state control imagery, everything should only be done by the state. This is particularly regrettable if representatives of the free economy, namely the Chamber of Commerce, also participated, as they see themselves as a state institution and not as representatives of entrepreneurs. Austria has a very strong statistical tradition, and as we know, many young entrepreneurs are likely to succeed abroad. ”
In the United States, the division in society is also reflected in the media landscape. You have nothing more to say, because every discourse is reduced to black and white. Are we threatened by similar development in Europe?
Brandstatter: “I think we already have this development. For example, Hungary is an extreme case. If you see it there: Victor Orbán wants to turn one part of society against another. It is no longer a question of what a society can achieve as a whole, but rather who works against whom or against what group. In such climate, it is more and more difficult to ensure normal interaction with each other. Politicians are mainly asked to emphasize what they have, but unfortunately this has been difficult in Austria as well. “
As a Member of Parliament, can you now communicate more freely than in your previous position as Editor?
Brandstatter: “No, I never felt obliged; Of course, when you are an employee you have obligations to the company. Rosa Luxembourg once said: “To say what is the most revolutionary act?” I’m afraid he’s right. It is still difficult to say certain things, but as a journalist I did not shy away from it, or now and then you turn some people against you. What bothers me, however, is that it has become so difficult to give a proper discourse. Now my biggest disappointment in Parliament is that it is not possible due to public attention, it was already clear to me. But now I have seen, and I have been in many committees, that there is no environment in which you can come to a better solution. There is actually no political body in Austria where you can work together on a solution. It had a part in the past, perhaps it still exists in social partnerships, but only because of the current crisis. “