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EU welcomes amendments to Hungarian Media Law

By Bno

BRUSSELS: Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda, on Wednesday welcomed the amendments made to the Hungrarian Media Law to preserve freedom of press.

"I am very pleased that the Hungarian authorities have agreed to amend their Media Law to ensure that it complies with the aspects of EU law that we have raised, including the Charter of Fundamental Rights," said Kroes.

The Hungarian Media Constitution and Media Act was adopted on December 21, 2010 but it did not complain with the EU rules. The legislation sparked controversy as it demanded to all media to register and provide balanced coverage of national and EU events.

In January, Kroes expressed her concern on four issues of the media law such as disproportionate application of rules on balanced information, application of fines to broadcasters legally established and authorized in other Member States, rules on registration and authorization of media service providers and rules against offending individuals, minorities or majorities.

The amendments announced on Wednesday addressed all these four issues. The European Commission will now closely monitor the adoption of these amendments and their subsequent implementation.

"We will continue to monitor the situation and work closely with the Hungarian authorities to ensure that the agreed changes are now incorporated into Hungarian law and that the revised law is consistently applied in practice," added Kroes.

Kroes wrote to the Hungarian authorities two days after the media law was adopted expressing her concerns and asking for details. Following notification of the law, she wrote to the Hungarian authorities again on January 21 and gave them two weeks to amend the media law.


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