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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Role in Fighting IS Carries Domestic Risks

There are Western concerns Islamic State militants soon may unleash offensive in kingdom that could create upheaval - though nation has solid intel, grip on banking system More

Asian-Americans Enter Public Office in Record Numbers

A steady deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid