2011-01-27 Budapest willing to make changes to media law in the face of international condemnation

Today, the Financial Times reported that the Hungarian government was willing to accommodate the legal issues raised last week by the EU commission. Mr Martonyi, Hungary's foreign minister said:

This issue of the Hungarian media law has become the subject of a pan-European political fight. Some political families felt that this is perhaps the topic they can use for their own political purposes. Brussels’ legal findings against the government’s media law could easily be overcome.

However, Mr Martonyi's nonchalance may be in question as reported by the German news outlet Die Presse. The German news organization outlined the concerns the EU commission has:

Die Kommission bemängelt das Mediengesetz, das mit Beginn des ungarischen EU-Ratsvorsitzes zu Jahresbeginn in Kraft trat, in mehreren Punkten. So heißt es zur nun gesetzlich verpflichteten „ausgewogenen“ Berichterstattung aller Medien: „Eine derart weit gefasste Auferlegung zur ausgewogenen Berichterstattung, die außerdem in so genereller Weise verfasst wurde, lässt einen großen Raum für Interpretationen und könnte ein Hindernis sowohl für die Niederlassungsfreiheit als auch für die freie Dienstleistungsfreiheit darstellen.“

(The Commission criticized the media law, Hungary is now legally obligated to "balanced" coverage of all media: However, such a broad imposition of balanced reporting, which was written in such a vague manner, leaving a large room for interpretation, could be an obstacle to both freedom of establishment and for the freedom of speech.)

The full articles can be found: Financial Times (English) and Die Presse (German)

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