Archive item

Title: Media Freedom in Hungary in Steep Decline
Other/original title:
Author:
Publisher: MediaPolicy.org
Files: Media Freedom in Hungary in Steep Decline _ Media Policy.pdf
Source: http://www.mediapolicy.org/hungary-media-law
Abstract: This article on the MediaPolicy.org website, hosted by the Open Society Media Program, reports on the visit by an international freedom of expression mission to Hungary in November 2011, where experts and representatives from 11 freedom of expression organizations met with government representatives, journalists and media workers. The article briefly summarizes the main problematic aspects of the new media laws, passed in 2010, and argues that the amendments which Parliament passed under pressure from the European Commission were "cosmetic and piecemeal". The international mission found that the new regulatory framework was "broad, uncertain and inconsistent with European standards of media freedom". The mission criticized the system of co-regulation imposed on the media by the new laws, which does not actually "delegate responsibility to the media to regulate itself," but rather "imposes a narrow system of regulation" which media outlets only signed up to "under duress". The new laws were already having "a chilling effect on the media," the mission argued, and the absence of cases where fines had been imposed so far was proof of this rather than an indication that there were no problems. For example, "the mission learned of a move by media owners to have their employees sign disclaimers absolving the outlet of culpability for any 'inflammatory' content and liability for any fines." The mission was particularly worried about suggestions "that the law is a model which should be exported to other jurisdictions within the EU". Given the European debate currently raging over media regulation, it argued, "it should be recognized that this law is simply not fit for purpose".
Publication/ adoption date: 2011-11-30
Keywords:
Language: English
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