Austrian media publisher Hans Dichand died on Thursday in Vienna at the age of 89, leaving a legacy as one of Austria’s most influential men, one who helped push late far—right leader Joerg Haider to political fame.
His Kronen Zeitung newspaper said on its webpage that Dichand had died in a Vienna hospital after a short illness.
By launching frequent media campaigns in his daily tabloid, he shaped Austria’s staunch anti—nuclear policy, helped politicians win elections, and pushed for tough anti—immigration policies.
Dichand’s power stemmed from Kronen Zeitung’s dominant market share, which is one of the world’s highest for a newspaper. Four out of ten Austrian readers get their news from this publication every day.
Born in 1921 in the town of Graz, he learned the printing trade.
After fighting as a sailor in World War II in Hitler’s navy, he switched to the news business, translating British news reports for Austrian regional media.
He founded Kronen Zeitung in 1959
He founded the Kronen Zeitung in 1959, which has been Austria’s biggest daily since the early 1970s.
Dichand kept close tabs on the sentiments of the population, highlighting crimes committed by Africans or “Eastern gangs” from Central Europe, as well as environmental issues and family values.
“I am neither racist nor against foreigners,” Dichand said once.
“I am only against humanist amateurishness which supports social parasites and criminals with citizens’ taxes.” The careers of several Austrian politicians are closely tied to the Kronen Zeitung.
Kurt Waldeim’s election for president in 1986 was supported by Dichand and his journalists, even as the former UN Secretary General was faced with accusations of having been involved in war crimes during World War II.
At around the same time, far—right populist Joerg Haider took over the Freedom Party, which he led intermittently until his death in 2008.
In many ways, Haider’s and Kronen Zeitung’s views ran parallel when it came to stemming immigration and criticising the European Union’s bureaucracy.
He supported Social Democrat Werner Faymann too
But Dichand did not limit his political goodwill to the centre— right and far—right politicians. He also supported Social Democrat Werner Faymann, the current chancellor.
“Hans Dichand was one of the country’s great personalities. He was an exceptionally gifted publisher and journalist, who literally wrote history,” Mr. Faymann said on Friday.