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Hungary's reply on media law is totally inadequate


01 Feb 2011


Languages & Culture

On the basis of media report, the Hungarian Government has replied today to the letter sent by the European Commission on 21st January on concerns related to its recently adopted media law.

Guy Verhofstadt, President of the ALDE Group in the European Parliament, who was in Budapest last week for meetings with Prime Minister Orban and his ministers remained firm that the spirit of the law is in breach of fundamental EU principles:
"The reply by the Hungarian government is totally inadequate and fails to address the central charge. The question is not just about technical adjustments to the media law, but about a fundamental modification of the law. The argument put forward by the Hungarian government that the law complies with EU rules concerning registration, plurality and country of origin is clearly wrong."
"In no EU country is prior registration of all media outlets required.  This may not be a breach of the EU directive itself, but clearly constitutes a breach of Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights guaranteeing press freedom. Furthermore, the country of origin requirements can only be supplanted by national laws in certain very specific areas, and not in the generalised manner as set out in the Hungarian law."
"If the Hungarian government is unable to understand the seriousness of the case and remains unwilling to make the necessary modifications and oblivious to the critical assessment of the OSCE, then the ALDE group will seek a commitment from the Commission to step up the pressure to initiate legal proceedings against the Government".

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