Archive item

Title: How not to regulate the press
Other/original title:
Publisher: / South and East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO)
Files: How Not To Regulate The Press.pdf
Abstract: In this 'expert opinion' for the website, Mike Harris, Head of Advocacy for Index on Censorship, argued that the new Hungarian media laws are "broad, uncertain and inconsistent with basic standards of media freedom". He acknowledges that Hungary "needed a new media law to replace outdated regulations," especially since Hungarian journalists had "failed to provide a model for self-regulation," but argues that the new government "stepped in and imposed one of the most draconian media models anywhere in Europe". He analyzes three specific elements of the new laws in more detail: Hungary’s new model of 'co-regulation,' which former OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Miklos Haraszti characterized as "outsourcing media censorship to the owners"; the new law's "measures that remove protections for journalistic sources"; and the provisions which are "to protect the audience from insult, threats to public morality, and hatred whether against a minority, or the majority". The terms of these provisions are overly broad, Harris argues, to the point where they may restrict any critical statement about any person or organisation. Media Authority President Annamaria Szalai has been "keen to emphasize that ‘not a single forint’ of fines have been levied to date," Harris writes, but "this is of cold comfort to journalists writing on controversial matters, where a single complaint to the Media Authority could mean the end of their career".
Publication/ adoption date: 2013-02-23
Language: English
Rights: by the South and East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO). Permission for reproducing the document granted by email.