European Union shocked by law on “Mass media” adopted in Hungary

European Union shocked by law on “Mass media” adopted in Hungary
# 18 April 2011 10:14 (UTC +04:00)
APA’s correspondent reports from Hungary that after the adoption of the law the UN, Council of Europe, OSCE and European Union openly expressed their concern. The point causing concern is that according to the new law, mass media in the country will be fully controlled by the government.

Former Foreign Minister of Hungary László Kovács said after the adoption of the law, the Council of Europe decided not only to monitor the law, but also monitor the general state of democracy in the country. It is the first time that such a decision is passed in the EU member country. László Kovács said most in the European Parliament are shocked by the adoption of this law in the country that will chair the European Union.

In the recent parliamentary elections in Hungary center-right Fidesz party won two thirds of the seats in the parliament. Fidesz won 263 out of 386 seats. The party has the right to amend the Constitution, election legislation, law on mass media.

New mass media law comes into force in Hungary on July 1, 2011. The law will regulate the activity of all media organizations – television, press and Internet resources in the country. According to the law, a Press Council will be established in Hungary, which president will be appointed by the Prime Minister the parliament will elect five members of the council for 9 years. The Press Council will have authorities to give license to the media organizations or ban its activity, to impose sanctions, to demand journalists to show the sources they quote.

The law is protested by the journalists as well. Magyar Radio producer Jolt Bogar served a minute of silence during his live program in a protest against the new law, for what he was sacked. A page of support to freedom of media in Hungary was launched on Facebook. Tens of thousands of people have been registered there in a short time. Non-governmental organizations continue their protest actions supporting freedom of media. More than 30 000 people participated in one of these actions on March 15.

Former OSCE representative for freedom of speech and media Miklos Haraszti considers that the new law will negatively effect on mass media, including television. “Press councils created in a number of countries, in distinction from Hungary, have an administrative character. The ruling party’s appointment of the president to this council can cause scandal in Europe, which is unacceptable”.

EU is concerned about four articles in this law. The resolution adopted by the European parliament says that not only these articles, but whole law must be changed. However, international organizations, which member is Hungary, have no mechanism of pressure against the country.
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