Archive item

Title: Freedom of the Press 2012: Hungary
Other/original title:
Publisher: Freedom House
Files: Freedom of the Press 2012 - Hungary.pdf
Abstract: This is the country report on Hungary from Freedom House's "Freedom of the Press" report of 2012. That year, the annual report downgraded Hungary from Free to Partly Free due to "concerted" government efforts "to seize control over the legal and regulatory framework for media," the report's overview essay noted. The "two-year drop of 13 points" in Freedom House's evaluation "is extremely unusual," the overview essay added, arguing that it reflected the restriction of access to information; "evidence of a politically motivated licensing procedure that resulted in a critical radio station losing its frequencies; increased reports of censorship and self-censorship, especially at the public broadcasters; and worsening economic conditions for independent media entrepreneurship". This country report expands on those points, describing the regulatory environment in more detail. It observes that "Hungary enjoys a broad array of print and broadcast media, with private news media identifying clearly with one or the other side of the political spectrum," but that a series of amendments to the new media laws "did little to limit the power of a new media regulation authority, controlled by the ruling Fidesz party, over the .. print and broadcast media". The new Media Council "became officially responsible for interpreting and enforcing numerous vaguely worded provisions affecting all print, broadcast, and online media," the report argues, before describing an array of issues including the amendment of registration requirements, the organization of co-regulation, questionable licensing practices, the "tabloidization" and political bias of broadcast news, the exclusive role of the news agency MTI in providing all public media news content and its contested objectivity, the control by a new Media Fund over all public media funding, as well as mass-layoffs and incidents of news manipulation at the public broadcasters.
Publication/ adoption date: 2012-05-01
Language: English
Rights: Freedom House. Permission for reproducing the document granted by email.