Euro-MPs still dissatisfied with Hungary's media law
(STRASBOURG) - European lawmakers on Thursday called on Hungary to suspend and re-examine its controversial media law despite recent amendments, in a move blasted by Budapest as a "witch hunt."
The European Parliament passed a resolution stating that Hungary's media law "should be suspended and urgently reexamined" due to "serious doubts raised by the OSCE" concerning in particular supervision of the media.
Hungarian authorities must "re-establish the independence of media governance and put an end to state interference," the resolution said.
On Tuesday, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe warned that the Hungarian legislation "can still be misused to curb alternative and differing voices in Hungary."
The day before Hungary's parliament had voted to amend the legislation on issues like media registration and balanced reporting, in response to criticism from the European Union.
However, no changes were made to the Media Council, a body that oversees all coverage and is made up entirely of close allies of Prime Minister Viktor Orban's ruling Fidesz party, critics noted.
In Strasbourg, eurodeputies belonging to the main conservative group in the European Parliament declined to vote for the resolution in a show of support for the government of conservative premier Orban.
For its part, Budapest on Thursday called the resolution a "sad development."
"The witch hunt continues. It is clearly visible that the votes did not care about the amendments adopted on Monday" by the Hungarian parliament, said Communications Minister Zoltan Kovacs.
Those were the only changes required by the vice president of the European Commission Neelie Kroes, he noted, adding: "From now on, those who signed the resolution, can go have a debate with the European Commission."
The disputed media law came into force on January 1, quickly poisoning Hungary's six-month presidency of the European Union just as it began.
Further information, European Parliament:
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