PES announce Budapest Media transparency meeting for March as Hungarian Prime Minister faces the European Parliament


19 Jan 2011


EU Priorities 2020

Press release

The Party of European Socialists (PES) has announced that it will hold a high level meeting on media transparency in the Hungarian capital, Budapest. The meeting will take place on 17-18 March. Participants will consist of Senior Press spokespeople from EU Socialists and Social Democratic member parties. The decision by the PES is a direct response to the recent law passed by the Conservative Hungarian Government which severely restricts the freedom of the press. Prime Minister Victor Orban will address the European Parliament in Strasbourg today (19 January) to present the top priorities for the Hungarian Presidency of the EU. The session however risks turning into a fierce debate over a controversial media law which came into force this year.


The high-level meeting comes at a time when the Hungarian Government is coming under increasing international pressure regarding its recent decision to severely tighten media laws.

Reaction from European Commission President José Manuel Barroso has been ambiguous. Commission representatives have intimated that any change to the media law would only come long after Hungary’s EU Presidency had come to an end.
The Commission bland reaction contrasts with the strong-worded statement issued by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) that labelled the law a threat to media freedom. National governments in France, Germany and UK also expressed concern over the application of the new media law.

PES President Poul Nyrup Rasmussen said; “As a member that joined the EU in 2004, the Hungarian government should know that one of the EU fundamental values is freedom of media. This kind of censorship should not be tolerated. The Commission must act swiftly to insure that European values are respected and that the country that has just assumed the EU Presidency does not breach them.”


Leader of Hungarian Social Democrats Attila Mesterházy stated; “The new media law that the conservative government has imposed on Hungary compromises the freedom of the media and shows how Fidesz (the ruling party) plans to use its power to tighten control over society. We cannot accept such a blunt attack on one of democracy’s basic freedoms. The European Union must react to this law.”


For further information please contact Brian Synnott on +32 474 98 96 75 (