Foreign Concerns about Hungarian Media Law
Tuesday, 01 March 2011 13:35
”The International Press Institute (IPI) and the South East European Media Organisation (SEEMO) will have a close eye on new developments of the Hungarian media after passing the media law” - said Oliver Vujović, Secretary-General of the SEEMO. On Wednesday and Thursday, a joint delegation by the two international journalists’ organisations conducted an investigation in Hungary. ”In the coming 6 to 12 months, we will monitor the functioning of the law - due to submission for parliamentary approval on Monday - in practical life and whether or not, it would cause problems” - claimed Vujović, who was a member of the delegation.”The law has not yet entered into force that is why we think that right now, there is no reason to adopt any measures in relation to it” - he added.
Last Sunday Volkskrant, an Amsterdam daily newspaper - with reference to Dutch news agency ANP - wrote on its website about what its critics call ”Europe's most restrictive media law”, which was about to be approved by the Hungarian Parliament on Monday. The report cited organisers of a demonstration that was to be held at Szabadság tér (Freedom Square) on Monday, who believed the law would move the world's clocks in Hungary back by 20 years into the Communist past. The organisers of the demonstration did not have much of a chance to prevent the approval of the new legislation since Viktor Orbán's central right ruling party had a two-third majority in the Parliament - stated the article, adding that the newly formed ‘Media Council’ (having all of its members appointed by the Government) would decide on whether or not journalists reported in a 'morally acceptable' and 'objective' manner.
”The International Press Institute (IPI) will closely monitor new developments of the Hungarian media after passing the proposed media law (already submitted for parliamentary approval)” - IPI stated in its announcement on last week's investigative visit to the country. ”There are some causes for concern: The law was drafted in a very short period of time, without wide-ranging consultations with the media; what's more, several elements of the new regulation sparked criticism among industry professionals” - alleged Oliver Vujović, Secretary-General of South East European Media Organisation (SEEMO), a sister organisation of IPI.
German ZDF TV channel addressed a report in its evening news to the Hungarian media law and its echoes. In the introductory part of the report it has been mentioned that the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) found that the new media law opened the gates to censorship and highlighted that PM Viktor Orbán - with the help of his two-third majority in the Parliament - already took a number of measures viewed by many as threats to democracy.
Süddeutshe Zeitung wrote that on Monday ruling party Fidesz would probably pass the media law which is only known in Europe from dictatorial regimes’ practices according to the OSCE. The law in effect enables the Fidesz-led Hungarian Government and its President, PM Viktor Orbán to control the whole media (almost) without limits.
Új Szó - a Hungarian daily newspaper in Slovakia - published a commentary entitled ‘State stealing’ about the transformation of Hungary’s pension system. The newspaper states that Orbán’s Government successfully carried out everything in only two months what Robert Fico and his company could not even do in four years. The law, which effectively eliminates the second pillar in the country’s pension system, was voted in favour of just a week ago by the Hungarian Parliament. Fico perhaps might not have even dreamt about such a ’brilliant idea’ how Viktor Orbán pushes back people to the state pension system: those who remain in the second (private) pillar will not be entitled to the future state-provided part (maybe as much as 70%) of their pensions.