Austria is losing the battle against disinformation, according to Justice Minister Alma Zadic.

With misleading and hateful content surging online, Zadic believes public institutions simply don’t have the resources to match the output of bad actors. "We cannot compete, in particular when it comes to disinformation or conspiracy theories,” the 39-year-old Green Party minister said in an interview last month in Vienna.

While mis- and disinformation are testing democratic institutions around the world, in Austria these issues are now playing out around a former chancellor who will stand trial later this month on charges of corruption related to delivering false testimony to parliament. Sebastian Kurz, a member of the conservative People’s Party who served as chancellor between 2017 and 2021, has separately been accused of fueling disinformation by using public money to plant fabricated opinion polls in Austria’s tabloid media before he took office.