Keith and I are picking up to move to Pécs, Hungary for one year. He has never been to Europe and the furthest east I've been is Switzerland.... Our Hungarian language skills are...well, we know some phrases. Come follow us on our adventure!!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Read No Evil

The Hungarian government passed a law that increases government control of all media outlets on December 20th, 2010.

"The new National Media and Communications Authority (NMHH), dominated by the people loyal to the ruling Fidesz party, will oversee all public news production and its powers will include levying big fines on private media that violate the law." Reuters

The Fidesz party won a two-thirds parliament majority in April 2010, and put its own people into key positions such as the head of the NMHH and state audit office. Prime Minister Orban Viktor also striped powers from the country's Supreme Court. The law passed with 256 votes (87 against) and no one absent.
Prime Minister Orbán Viktor

Critics claim the law does not clearly outline what news sources need to do to be in compliance. Earlier this week 1500 people demonstrated in Budapest against the law. The Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said, "The plans clearly violate the spirit and letter of the EU treaties. It's a direct danger for democracy," in an interview with Reuters.

On January 1st, 2011, Hungary takes the position as president of the European Union until June 1st, 2011 as part of the rotating position. This will be Hungary's first time leading the EU since it became a member in 2004. Asselborn stated that due to this law, he is concerned if Hungary is worthy of leading the EU.

The European Commission is investigating the law. Human rights commissioner of Germany, Markus Loening, is urging Hungary to rethink it, and telling all EU members to, "stand up for the freedom of press and actively protect it."

For more information: Reuters' Article and Radio Free Europe both have a lot of information on the issue.

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