Archive item

Title: Hungary: Controversial New Media Laws Cast Shadow on Presidency
Other/original title:
Publisher: Article 19
Files: hungary-controversial new media laws cast shadow.pdf
Abstract: In this statement of 17 January 2011, the international freedom of expression organisation Article XIX analyzed the newly adopted Hungarian media legislation in some detail, and found that the shortfalls of the laws created "real dangers for media freedom in Hungary" and, considering Hungary had just taken over the Presidency of the EU, sent "a dangerous signal to authoritarian governments around the world". The analysis first sketches the background against which the laws were adopted: the ruling government, having an two-thirds majority in Parliament, "amended more than fifty laws and changed the Constitution six times" within six month, while "remov[ing] important constitutional checks and balances ... to avoid public control over its actions". The analyses then highlights the main flaws of the legislation, in Article 19's view: political control over the media through the new regulatory bodies; overbroad and vaguely formulated content regulations, which apply to the press and the Internet as well; the oblogation for media outlets to register; insufficient provisions for the protection of journalistic sources; and excessive sanctions. The analysis concludes with a number of recommendations to the Hungarian government.
Publication/ adoption date: 2011-01-17
Language: English
Rights: Article 19. Permission for reproducing the document granted by email.