Archive item

Title: Reply to the criticism of the international media
Other/original title:
Publisher: Ministry of Public Administration and Justice, Hungary
Files: Reply to the criticism of the international media.pdf
Abstract: On 3 January 2011, the Hungarian Ministry of Public Administration and Justice published this "Reply to the criticism of the international media," in which the government summarized the accusations being leveled at the newly adopted media laws in its own words and addressed each one. In its responses, the government cited laws from around Europe which it claimed contained similar provisions to those criticized in the new Hungarian laws. The document is similar to the one published by the Ministry on 20 December 2010, "Criticisms and answers formulated on the subject of the proposed media act examined in a European context," but cites an additional nine examples of appointment procedures of media regulatory bodies in other European countries. This document also adds a set of general remarks, in which it describes the opinions being expressed about the laws in the media as "a collection of unfounded, at times outright absurd accusations," and insists that "the new Hungarian Media Act does not contain any element that has not been a well-established part of legislation in most European countries". Contrary to what the media reported, it argues, the law does not impose preliminary restrictions of the press; the new Media Act is not intended to regulate printed and online press, television and radio based on a unified set of principles; neither the media authority nor its president can issue decrees "at their whim", and the media authority does not take orders from the government or parliament; and "the independent court has the power to review all media authority decisions, thereby excluding any opportunity for exerting political pressure". Meanwhile, the contested regulation on balanced coverage "has been a part of Hungarian law for 15 years" and "is far more lenient than the British requirement of impartiality". The novelty of the Hungarian laws is only "that media is supervised together with communications by a unified, convergent authority, which .. allows for concentrated, efficient and cost-effective operation."
Publication/ adoption date: 2011-01-03
Language: English