Hungarian Media Law: a step forward in the on-going international debate

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Last week along with Prof. Oreste Pollicino of Bocconi Law School, co-founder of Medialaws, I attended the meeting organized by the Centre for Media and Communication Study of the Central European University of Budapest focused on the findings of the study carried out by the CMCS on the Hungarian Media Law recently entered into force in Hungary (here the entire downloadable version of the study and the Hungarian Media Law text).

The meeting has been organized with the aim to clarify the results of the study and to address the concerns on the study as pointed out by the Hungarian government as well as by the Hungarian Media Authority.

In this light the meeting has been participated by the research team of the CMCS (Kate Coyer, Amy Brouillette and Joost van Beek), many national experts from across European countries which joined the research, the representative of the Hungarian government Dr. Zoltán Kovács (State Secretary for Communication) and the representative of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority Andras Koltay.

The roundtable which took place on Monday 19 March has been an important chance to analyze more in details the methodology behind the study (based on an assessment of the Hungarian Media Law in respect of the prevailing regulations in the main European Countries) and the more controversial contents of the new Hungarian Media Law itself (as the concentration of powers exercised over media outlets by the Media Authority, the centralization of news productions, the role of the judicial review on the decision issued by the Authority, etc.).

Beyond the contents of the meeting, which cannot be disclose at the present stage, the meeting has represented an unique occasion to start a discussion in a comparative dimension with the Hungarian government and the Media authority addressing the main international concerns over the new media regulation and it shown, after all, a discrete willingness of the government to discuss on such matters.

On other hand, the meeting has represented an extraordinary occasion for the national experts and members of CMCS to meet each other, to continue on the discussion keeping high the international attention on the controversial Hungarian Media Law.

Another important step in the on-going debate on the media law has then been done and – waiting for further feedback – I would like to thank by means of this Medialaws’ page the CMCS’ team and all participants to the meeting for the excellent welcome and the outstanding handling which they reserved to us during our staying in Budapest.

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