Hungarian Watch

Lipstick on a Pig

In Uncategorized on February 16, 2011 at 9:32 pm

Everything you need to know about Hungary’s concession to the EU regarding our favorite media law is in Stephen Castle’s New York Times article Hungary Tones Down Media Law to End E.U. Conflict.

The long of the short is:  The Hungarian government has agreed to change certain parts of the media law.  Goodie.

Here’s what this means:

-The requirement that all media outlets must provide “balanced” coverage is gone.  Oh, except, broadcasters still have to.  Wait…we’re confused.  But people’s personal Facebook posts or Tweets don’t have to be “balanced.”–um…was an individual considered a one person media outlet in the original legislation?

-The requirement that all media outlets must register with the media authority has been “relaxed.” (i.e. bloggers don’t have to register, etc.)

-The EU has clarified their rules regarding foreign broadcasters based in Hungary.  (basically, this ridiculous law doesn’t really apply to them)

-the provision stating that media may not “cause offence” is to be limited to not “discriminating” against a group or inciting violence.  Hear that Jobbik?

Okay, EU, this all seems a little namby pamby to us.  Here’s the problem:

-The 5 member Media Authority (all appointed by Fidesz and armed with a 9-year mandate) will continue to watch-dog the press.

-the insane fines are still in place

-reporters are still required to disclose their sources under certain circumstances

-did we mention that the MEDIA AUTHORITY is still in place?

So, the core of the law is still very much there.  What’s the saying?  You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.



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