News / Europe

European Parliament Members Challenge Hungary Media Law

Parliament members protest as Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban, unseen, delivers his speech at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, 19 Jan. 2011
Parliament members protest as Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban, unseen, delivers his speech at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, 19 Jan. 2011

Multimedia

Audio

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has warned Hungary will fight back if the 27-nation European Union interferes in what he calls internal politics while his country holds the EU's presidency.  Mr. Orban spoke Wednesday while facing a largely hostile European Parliament where he was challenged about a law that critics claim endangers media freedom.

Prime Minister Orban was interrupted by European parliamentarians who condemned what they view as Europe's most restrictive media law.

The legislation, which came into force on New Year's Day, expands the state's power to monitor and penalize news media.

A Media Council, appointed by Mr. Orban's center-right government, can fine broadcasters up to nearly $1 million and websites or newspapers over $100,000 if their news coverage is considered unbalanced or immoral.

At the start of the prime minister's speech at the European Parliament session in Strasbourg, some EU legislators covered their mouth with duct tape and held banners protesting Mr. Orban's controversial media law.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (file)
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (file)

A visibly angry Mr. Orban told the legislators not to mix up criticism of Hungarian domestic politics with its tenure as president of the European Union.

He said he was ready to fight if those issues are threatening to overshadow Hungary's six-month EU presidency.

Orban said he heard with his own ears that Hungary was accused of moving towards dictatorship. He said that he viewed the accusation as an offense towards the Hungarian nation and that he would defend his home, his Hungary. He strongly denied that the Hungarian law has anything to do with dictatorship.

Mr. Orban's views were shared by the leader of the conservative European People's Party, which includes the prime minister's Fidesz party.

He also received support from British skeptics, a representative of Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi's party and members of the Hungarian far-right party Jobbik.

But several others disagreed.

The leader of the Social Democratic faction in parliament, Martin Schulz, urged Mr. Orban to withdraw the legislation.

The German politician said, "values such as freedom, democracy and justice are common goals."  Schulz said condemning legislation that does not seem to represent these values, does not mean that parliamentarians are criticizing the Hungarian people. He urged Mr. Orban not to divide Europe and added "only when all EU member states cooperate...can Europe succeed."      

The European Commission already said that Hungary's media law might not meet all of its standards for a free and fair press. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has said in Budapest that the law could undermine pluralism.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso revealed Wednesday that the EU executive would send a letter this week to Hungarian authorities asking for 'clarifications.'

You May Like

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960s Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More