Archive item

Title: Report on the content regulation in the practice of the Media Council (Part 2)
Other/original title:
Publisher: Mérték (Standards) Media Monitor
Files: Report on the content regulation in the practice of the Media Council (Part 2).pdf
Abstract: This is the second report by Mérték (Standards) Media Monitor on how the Hungarian Media Council has applied the legal provisions from the new media laws on media content in practice. Like Mérték's first report on the subject, this report examines the official resolutions issued by the media authority, and in particular the ways in which it applied any sanctions, but this follow-up report covers the period of May to October, 2012. Specifically, the report reviews the practices of the media authority in the fields of balanced coverage, human dignity, and incitement to hatred. In general, the report finds that "the media authority’s application of the law is characterized by moderate intervention" and a "tendency of leniency". In only 13% of the cases it ruled on did the authority impose a fine of 100,000 forints or more and overall "the fine amounts were much smaller than those imposed by the predecessor media authority". The primary focus of the authority's resolutions changed from violations of the protection of minors and rules on advertising to failures by local and community media to fulfill their commitments. On the other hand, "not once did the authority determined a case of incitement to hatred" and its investigations into breaches of the controversial balanced coverage provision were dominated by cases brought by the far-right political party Jobbik. The Media Council found a violation in only 4 of the 22 "balanced coverage" cases it reviewed, but the report does criticize the authority's interpretation of balanced coverage, which "fails to promote democratic public discourse". In conclusion, the report highlights the contrast between the broad powers of intervention which the laws gave the media authority and its restrained application of them. This might be "welcome" from the perspective of freedom of the press," but "begs the question: What is the point of these controversial regulations?"
Publication/ adoption date: 2012-10
Language: English
Rights: Mérték Media Monitor. Permission for reproducing the document granted by email.