Archive item

Title: Legal analysis of the 2010 Hungarian media laws
Other/original title:
Publisher: Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT)
Files: CDT_Legal_analysis_of_the_Hungarian_Media_Laws_020911.pdf
Abstract: The Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), a U.S.-based public policy and internet freedom organization, in February 2011 published this legal analysis of the Hungarian media legislation that had just entered into force: the Media Act and the Press Freedom Act. A month later, the CDT would publish a separate analysis of amendments to these laws which the Hungarian government developed at the request of the European Commission. In this original 19-page analysis, the CDT concludes that the laws "are an exercise of state regulation and media censorship whose implementation and enforcement violate the fundamental rights and freedoms" enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The laws "also fail to correctly transpose the AVMS Directive and thus are inconsistent with Hungaryʼs obligations to the European Union," the analysis argues. After describing the ECHR and AVMS Directive as relevant standards of international law, the analysis identifies 12 specific areas in which the laws are inconsistent with the Hungarian Constitution and European law, grouping them in three general categories of concern. First, the analysis argues, both laws "contain excessively overbroad definitions of their jurisdictional scope". For example, "the extraterritorial regulation allowed under the Media Act against on-demand visual media, radio media, and press media service providers resident in other Member States reaches far beyond that provided for by the AVMS Directive". Second, the analysis takes aim at the "extensive, complex, and bureaucratic" regulatory regime "with far-reaching powers" created by the Media Act - arguing, for example, that "the Media Act grants to various authorities the power to impose massive fines on, suspend the activities of, or even delete the public’s access to media providers". Third, the analysis claims, the laws lay out content regulations that have a chilling effect on freedom of expression and the press," and these regulations "are impermissibly vague and restrictive under the ECHR and the AVMS Directive".
Publication/ adoption date: 2011-02-09
Language: English
Rights: Copyright © 2012 by Center for Democracy & Technology, Creative Commons Attribution - Non-commercial License,