Archive item

Title: Ruling No. 165/2011. (XII. 20.) AB of the Constitutional Court - Summary
Other/original title:
Publisher: Mérték (Standards) Media Monitor
Files: Ruling No 165_2011 (XII_20) AB of the Constitutional Court - Summary.pdf
Abstract: This is a detailed summary by Mérték (Standards) Media Monitor of the Hungarian Constitutional Court's ruling of 19 December 2011, which struck down significant parts of the media laws that had been adopted the year before. Mérték praises the court for having, in the eleventh hour (right before the its membership was extended), "at least partially made a stance". However, it calls the ruling "an ambivalent document," since it "does not cover the most crucial elements" of the new laws, such as the new systems of media supervision and sanctioning or the regulation of public media. Since issues not examined in this ruling "will, in accordance with the new law on the Constitutional Court, expire," they will not be ruled on in the future anymore either. Mérték's analysis discusses the court's response to complaints about how the laws were prepared and processed, and then summarizes five main other elements. Regarding the scope of content regulations, the court "did not declare in general that regulating the printed and internet-based press is constitutionally offensive," but did "pronounce a few specific limitations" unconstitutional, such as those regarding human dignity, human rights and rights of the interviewees. But it deemed the application of regulations on commercial content, the protection of children, hate speech and respect of the constitutional order constitutional. The court also found the new press registration system constitutional. The court struck down a provision that obliged a journalist refusing to reveal his sources to prove that this served the public interest, ruling instead that this right is unconditional. The court also limited the media authority's right to demand information from media providers, ruling that the laws did not sufficiently protect the attorney-client privilege and the protection of personal data. Finally, the court annulled the regulations concerning the Commissioner for Media and Telecommunications, a new official with the right to investigate complaints which did not constitute a breech of law.
Publication/ adoption date: 2013-03-04
Language: English
Rights: Mérték Media Monitor. Permission for reproducing the document granted by email.