European newspaper sector welcomes EU undertaking to make full assessment of controversial Hungarian Media LawShare Print
Brussels, 11 January 2011 - The European Newspaper Publishers’ Association (ENPA) today welcomed the statement by European Commission Vice-President, Neelie Kroes, that the Commission will carry out a full “legal assessment” of the controversial Hungarian media law. Vice-President Kroes was speaking at a Hearing on the Hungarian Media Law in the European Parliament in Brussels, organised by the Liberal Group.
According to Vice-President Kroes, this in-depth assessment will begin once the Commission receives the official notification of the law from the Hungarian Government, expected later this week.
ENPA was one of the first international organisations to draw attention to the problematic nature of the new set of media laws in Hungary, before the legislation was passed in December 2010 on the eve of the Hungarian Presidency of the European Union.
Ivar Rusdal, President of ENPA said: “The issues at stake in the Hungarian media law go beyond nationalities and party politics and to the heart of cherished European values. We trust that the Commission will examine not only the technical compatibility of this legislation with existing EU Directives, but also consider whether it upholds the spirit of the law and hard-earned European values of freedom of the press and fundamental rights.”
European newspaper publishers had raised the alarm over the law which gives a government-controlled regulatory body the power to impose heavy fines on media outlets for reporting judged to be “unbalanced” and could also threaten the protection of journalistic sources. The legislation would apply both to the printed edition of newspapers and to their online activities.
“We are deeply concerned this new legislation will result, at the very least, in a climate of media self-censorship, to the detriment of an independent and pluralistic press in Hungary,” added Mr Rusdal.
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Francine Cunningham, Executive Director of ENPA, Brussels, Belgium. Tel: +32 (0)2 551 01 90 or email: email@example.com
ENPA, based in Brussels, represents over 5,200 national, regional and local newspaper titles, published in 23 European Member States, plus Norway and Switzerland. More than 150 million newspapers are sold and read by over 300 million Europeans every day, in addition to the millions of unique daily visits to online newspapers websites.
for the contact details of the ENPA staff member.