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Hungary’s top two TV stations oppose new ad tax

RTL Klub and TV2, Hungary’s largest national private TV stations, are protesting a government decision to tax media companies according to their net annual advertising revenues, according to a May 28 article in An announcement from RTL Klub reportedly called the measure “unprecedented in Europe,” and added that the company might leave Hungary over the […]

Átlátszó fights to expose public media spending

Amid steady budget increases and cuts to public media staff, Hungary’s public media management fund, the MTVA, has been outsourcing production to private firms with close ties to Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party, according to an ongoing investigation by pro-transparency investigative reporting NGO, Átlátszó. The group, which has been working to uncover the MTVA’s spendings since […]

Media Council issues first fine on a print daily

By Judit Barta Hungary’s Media Council on May 8 handed down its first sanction against a print and online publication with a HUF 250,000 (EUR 862) fine for hate speech against right-wing daily Magyar Hírlap for publishing Zsolt Bayer’s January 5 opinion piece, in which he called Roma “animals” who “shouldn’t be allowed to exist.”

Human Rights Watch: Hungarian media face political pressure

Independent media outlets in Hungary practice self-censorship as a result of unclear regulations and declines in public and private advertising revenue, according to a new report published by Human Rights Watch. The May 2013 report, “Wrong Direction on Rights: Assessing the Impact of Hungary’s New Constitution and Laws,” reviews how changes to Hungary’s constitution and media laws are […]

Freedom House gives five EU countries “partly free” media rating

Greece dropped in its press freedom ranking to join Hungary and three other EU countries with only “partly free” media systems in 2012, according to the annual Press Freedom Index released by Freedom House on Wednesday. The media in Bulgaria, Italy and Romania also rated as “partly free,” according to the report. Hungary’s press freedom […]

Hungarian Parliament votes to curb freedom-of-information rights

In a fast-tracked procedure on Tuesday, the Hungarian Parliament modified a freedom-of-information law to put limits on access to public information, stirring rebukes from Hungarian civil society groups, journalists and opposition lawmakers. The amendment was passed without public consultation in an “exceptional and urgent” Parliamentary session held two days after the draft was first submitted […]