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

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race in military confinement to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey 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.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid