Archive item

Title: The Hungarian Media Environment - Speech to the European Parliament's Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee
Other/original title:
Publisher: European Commission
Files: Neelie Kroes Vice President of the European Commission - The Hungarian Media Environment.pdf
Abstract: In this speech, Vice-President of the European Commission Neelie Kroes briefed the European Parliament's Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee on the "grave concerns" which she had regarding the media environment in Hungary, including "the threat of the current media law to freedom of the press". She argues that the Commission "worked constructively with the Hungarian government" to deliver amendments to the original law "that were needed to comply with the limited EU rules in this field", but says she promised to follow developments closely and speak up when needed - and "this is why I am here today." Specifically, she raises the case of Klubrádió, "one of the few remaining radio stations providing an important forum for opposition voices," whose broadcasting frequencies are at risk. More generally, she argues, "a recent study indicates that Hungary’s media laws go beyond European practices and norms" (a reference to "Hungarian Media Laws in Europe"), in particular regarding the Media Authority’s independence and centralised structure, its sanctioning powers, and the legislation's scope of application to audiovisual, radio, online and print media alike. That "the danger of high fines for breaching unclear rules can result in self-censorship," she argues in veiled reference to a government document called "Hungary - Myths and Facts", is "a fact, not a myth". Kroes also cites the conclusion by the High-Level Group on Media Freedom and Pluralism that Hungary "put itself in a position of potential danger to media freedom and the Government would be wise to consider how to get out of it". In conclusion, Kroes says, the Commission expects the Hungarian government to "explicitly and transparently ask the Council of Europe for a comprehensive opinion on the compliance of the media legislation and its application [..] with fundamental values as enshrined in benchmark texts such as the European Convention on Human Rights"; and to "accept and implement any concrete recommendations that would be made by the Council of Europe."
Publication/ adoption date: 2012-02-09
Language: English
Rights: © European Union. "Reproduction is authorised, provided the source is acknowledged, save where otherwise stated,"