Hungary Waves Off Criticism Over Media Law

Posted in: Censorship at 26/12/2010 18:55

Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orban, poised to take over presidency of the European Union, is fighting back against criticism from Germany and other countries over a new Hungarian law that some fear could be used to curb press freedom.

The law, which was passed last week by the Parliament in Budapest and comes into force on Jan. 1, empowers the newly created National Media and Communications Authority to impose heavy fines for coverage that it considers unbalanced or offensive to human dignity or common morals.
National television channels could face fines up to 200 million forints ($950,000) for violating the law, and daily newspapers and Internet news portals face fines up to 25 million forints ($119,000). Fines for weekly or monthly publications could total 10 million forints ($48,000).

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