Archive item

Title: The freedom of the press and its legal limitations in Hungary
Other/original title:
Files: The freedom of the press and its legal limitations in Hungary _ atlatszo.pdf
Abstract: In this analysis from November 2011, László Bodolai, a member of the board of, summarized the legal framework limiting the freedom of the press in Hungary. Reviewing the practical application of the new media legislation, passed in 2010, thus far, he concluded that the biggest concerns about the laws had not materialized: "redactions haven’t been harried by authorities, and the National Media and Infocommunications Authority has limited its practice and fined just reality shows". However, judicial practice, developed previously and based on overall legislation, "can cause much more sophisticated impact". Bodolai describes four fields in detail where this impact is placing press freedom in a vulnerable position. The first concerns press rectification and moral law litigation, based on strictly formulated right of reply legislation which the new laws kept in place. The Hungarian procedures, Bodolai argues, forces the press "into an unequal and unfair position". The second field concerns the legal practices on internet contents. The main problem here, writes Bodolai, concerns "user contents" and the legal responsibility for them, as the new media laws "left the problem of comments attached by readers .. to edited articles, and blog notices uncovered". Because of the unclear legal situation, many sites suspended reader comments altogether or subjected them to preliminary moderation. Even if user-generated content isn't at risk from the new media laws, Bodolai argues, it is vulnerable to "the restrictive juridical practice [regarding] the Act on e-commerce". The third field Bodolai mentions is journalistic protection of sources, which had to defend in court, and the fourth field concerns criminal cases on libel and defamation, in which the current legal framework places journalists in a disadvantaged position as well.
Publication/ adoption date: 2011-11-12
Language: English
Rights: Licensed under Creative Commons, CC BY-SA 2.5