VIENNA, 22 December 2010 - Hungary's new media law violates OSCE media freedom standards and endangers editorial independence and media pluralism, Dunja Mijatovic, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, said today.
"I am concerned that Hungary's parliament has adopted media legislation that, if misused, can silence critical media and public debate in the country," Mijatovic said, referring to the "Law on media services and mass communication", adopted on 20 December.
"The law regulates all media content - broadcast, print and online - based on identical principles, which runs against OSCE standards on free media. It also gives unusually broad powers to the recently established media authority and media council, which are led exclusively by members supported by the governing party," Mijatovic said.
Traditionally, regulatory authorities govern broadcast media only, but the new law in Hungary empowers the authorities to also govern print and online media content.
"Such concentration of power in regulatory authorities is unprecedented in European democracies, and it harms media freedom," Mijatovic said. "Regulating print media can curb free public debate and pluralism. Even though ...MORE