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Putting the fox in charge of the henhouse - Hungary's new media law


19 Jan 2011

Statement by Lothar Bisky, GUE/NGL President:


"If it's true that freedom of the press is a condition for a functioning democracy in Europe, then the new Hungarian press law must set off all alarm bells. Under this law, the government and the Prime Minister through their large majority in Parliament can staff these institutions (The National Council for Communication and Information Technology, Article 120-122; as well as The Council of the National Media and Info-communications Authority, Article 123-138) with their own people, giving them unprecedented control and authority over the media."


"The law will not only cover content, but can also impose fines that would threaten the existence of certain media outlets. The appeasing tones coming from the Hungarian government, like the dubious reference to translation problems, cannot hide the following fact: this law means central control of public media and that means putting the fox in charge of the henhouse."


"Whether references to feudalistic media environments, Berlusconi, and problems with freedom of the press in other European Union member states are justified or not, the source of the fears being voiced remains: the presidency of the European Union is now in the hands of a Hungarian government that wishes to implement freedom of the press exclusively via state control. History tells us that this cannot work."


GUE/NGL President Lothar Bisky will hold a press conference with Hungarian journalist, academic and leader of the Green Left Party, GM Tamás, on the Hungarian Media Law tomorrow at 15.00 in the Strasbourg press briefing room.


David Lundy + 32 485 50 58 12
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
Inga Keilmann (DE) +32 493 60 10 23
Gianfranco Battistini + 32 475 64 66 28
Gauche Unitaire Européenne/Nordic Green Left

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