Austria’s judicial and security authorities have planned to take a tougher stance against online hate speech following the suicide of a doctor who received death threats for advocating COVID-19 vaccines.
Minister for European Union and Constitutional Affairs Karoline Edtstadler has indicated that she is considering setting up a specialized prosecutor’s office to prosecute online hate, Austrian press agency APA has reported.
On the other hand, Justice Minister Alma Zadic has rejected this initiative and announced that she plans to work with Interior Minister Gerhard Karner to provide more resources to the Police and Prosecutor’s Office to bring perpetrators to justice without undue delay.
“These investigations often take too long, which of course is extremely stressful for the victims,” he has said, noting what he sees as the problem.
The policy initiatives came a day after Austrian officials said they would work with German prosecutors to track down the people who made death threats on social media against Lisa-Maria Kellermayr, a 36-year-old doctor who committed suicide.
The doctor, who spoke out in the fight against the pandemic, was the subject of a wave of death threats from critics of the government’s containment measures.
Austrian authorities have been accused of not providing sufficient support.