Budapest, March 16 (MTI) – Hungary’s new media law conforms to European Union guidelines, head of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) Annamaria Szalai told a conference organised by the association of Electronic Electronic Press Association in Budapest on Wednesday
Szalai, who is also president of NMHH’s Media Council, said the concept of the law was “clear” — to provide an up-to-date legal framework for the growing convergence between media providers and news networks, to renew the country’s “uncontrollable and chaotic” public-service media and introduce the Public Service Code which creates broadcasting standards.
A new supervisory body comprising representatives of organisations enjoying broad public support will enforce the new code, she said.
Szalai said controls over printed and electronic media content were confined to stipulating respect for human dignity, the country’s constitutional order, and privacy, while banning hate speech and protecting minors.
Concerning the rights of journalists, the new law lifts an earlier obligation for them to disclose certain pieces of information in a court procedure, Szalai said.
She said the compulsory registration of media outlets is merely “an administrative element” of the law, and the data is needed for legal reasons.
On the subject of the law’s much-criticised provisions concerning possible sanctions against media providers, Szalai said that the goal was “prevention rather than punishment” and that the courts would apply the principles of “gradualness, equal treatment and proportionate penalties” for broadcasters. She rejected worries raised earlier that the penalties could drive outlets bankrupt.