The Hungarian government’s failure to address concerns about media freedom warrants action by the European Union (EU) under the EU treaty, Human Rights Watch said in a letter sent yesterday to Commissioner Neelie Kroes, who is in charge of media issues.
Hungary’s clampdown on media freedom, through several problematic media laws, has given rise to mounting EU and Council of Europe concern. In February, Kroes urged Hungary to seek advice from the Council of Europe on media reform, which Hungary failed to do. The Council of Europe prepared an analysis nonetheless, highlighting a range of problems that should be addressed for Hungary to comply with European Convention standards. Ignoring the Council of Europe’s advice, the Hungarian government submitted to parliament for vote on May 25, 2012, amendments to its media laws that not only largely failed to address concerns but also introduced additional restrictions on media freedom.