The media services of the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) which governs the country jointly with the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP), have posted a controversial video on E-cards, proposed photo ID cards which would be introduced in 2020. The clip, which appeared on the party’s social media accounts, is titled Photo on an E-Card – End to Social Abuse!
Its main character Ali, who wears a traditional Turkish fez, wants to visit a dentist, but he doesn’t have insurance and tries to use his cousin Mustafa’s photo ID. However, the scheme fails.
Removed #racist spot from #Austrian right wing party #FPÖ:— Ali Özkök — علي أزكوك (@Ozkok_) 14 ноября 2018 г.
It illustrates the misuse of the e-card by a figure wearing a fes called #Ali.
In the video, Social Affairs Minister Beate Hartinger-Klein, representing FPÖ, explains that the measure should thwart "those who cheat and take advantage of our social system and have not paid for any insurance". The video ends with words "tough luck, Ali”.
The clip was criticized by the opposition, human rights activists and netizens. They slammed it for inciting hatred and brand the clip racist and xenophobic. The Peter Pilz List party, founded by a former Green lawmaker, wants to start a parliamentary inquiry against the social affairs minister, who appeared in the video to find out if the official knew about the context in which her statements were used.
Following the uproar, the clip was deleted from the FPÖ accounts on Facebook and YouTube. The party’s General Secretary Christian Hafenecker has told the Austrian Press Agency that he had not seen the video before it was uploaded online. He blamed the situation on a failure to communicate.
He said that the initial message "could have been presented differently, but with many people working, mistakes happen sometimes".