Archive item

Title: Opinion on Hungary’s New Constitutional Order: Amicus Brief for the Venice Commission on the Transitional Provisions of the Fundamental Law and the Key Cardinal Laws
Other/original title:
Files: Opinion on Hungary’s New Constitutional Order - Amicus Brief for the Venice Commission.pdf
Abstract: This Amicus Brief from February 2012, authored by Miklós Bánkuti, Tamás Dombos, Zoltán Fleck, Gábor Halmai, Krisztina Rozgonyi, Balázs Majtényi, László Majtényi, Eszter Polgári, Kim Lane Scheppele, Bernadette Somody and Renáta Uitz and edited by Halmai and Scheppele, was aimed to help the Venice Commission review and evaluate recently adopted laws in Hungary. The Brief, published shortly after the European Parliament called on the European Commission to request the Venice Commission's opinion on the new constitution and related provisions and cardinal laws, noted that the Venice Commission had already been asked to review a range of new Hungarian laws before, at the request of either the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) or the Hungarian authorities themselves. The Brief provides a detailed analysis of these laws, and devotes an 11-page chapter to the new media laws. Outlining the main criticisms of the legislation, the document describes the overhaul of the regulatory system, with a central role for the new, converged regulator NMHH, the extension of this body's regulatory scope to print media, online audiovisual media and the on-line press, and its "overwhelming" sanctioning power. After describing some relevant context, such as "the limited negotiating position [..] of private media" due to how "almost all of them depend to some extent on the state," the Brief analyses the most problematic areas of the new regulatory system: the independence of the NMHH and Media Council, the rules applicable to the press, and "the establishment of direct political influence, both on the public service media and on the sanctions to which media providers may be subject". The laws "appear to be inconsistent with European free-press norms, standards of democratic constitutionalism and the basic principles set forth in article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union," the Brief concludes.
Publication/ adoption date: 2012-02
Language: English
Rights: The Program in Law and Public Affairs (LAPA), Princeton University, content shared under a Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND license.