Hungary - Alerts
Changes approved last week by Parliament to controversial media laws do little to address the serious concerns expressed by the Council of Europe, and in some cases may make matters worse, said Human Rights Watch.
*European Parliament: AMARC affirms its commitment for media pluralism
After a recent visit to Budapest, the rights organisation warns the restrictions on media freedom pose a "clear danger to the EU's values".
Access Info Europe, n-ost and SEENPM expressed their concerns about the threats of criminal charges against Attila Mong and the chilling effect that such threats are likely to have on freedom of expression in Hungary.
The country’s new constitution, which came into force on January 1, 2012, and other laws adopted over the last year give the ruling Fidesz party the ability to interfere arbitrarily with the judicial system and media, in violation of human rights law.
The public broadcaster MTV fired Balazs Nagy Navarro and Aranka Szavuly, calling their protest against government manipulation of news content illegal and a "provocation".
Klubrádió's prospective closure means the silencing of Hungary's only remaining independent radio station and a significant blow to media pluralism in the country, says ARTICLE 19.
A union president is on hunger strike to defend the public's right to independent information.
The new Constitution replaces the independent Data Protection and Freedom of Information Commissioner with an administrative authority.
The OSCE said on Thursday that the legislation could still be misused to curb alternative and differing voices, despite modifications adopted following a request from the European Commission.
"Instead of trying to obstruct the fundamental rights to freedom of assembly and expression, the police authorities should fulfill their obligation to protect the demonstrators," said Human Rights Watch.
The European policymakers and media leaders want the media law to be in line with international standards of press freedom and the European Charter of Fundamental Rights.
Media watchdog orders blogs to register under the new law.
The inquiry relates to the station's broadcast of two songs by American rapper Ice-T of which the lyrics were deemed objectionable.
Parliamentarians in Budapest agreed to create a new media council which will have the power to fine newspapers if they don't provide "balanced coverage".
The parliament passed another element of a media reform package which will force journalists to identify their sources in stories involving national security and public safety.
IPI has called for withdrawal of the current package, saying the initiative should preserve media independence and be implemented only after conferring with all stakeholders.
The bill brings under state regulation the content of most printed and audiovisual media, even a part of the Internet.
(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders has condemned a 22 June 2007 violent attack on investigative journalist Iren Karmen by two men that left her unconscious on the banks of the River Danube. She was found by a fisherman the next morning and is now hospitalised in Budapest with serious head injuries.
(IPI/IFEX) - The following is an IPI press release: