Budapest, June 10 (MTI) – There is a need for stronger and more direct international cooperation in the media, Human Resources Minister Zoltan Balog said on Wednesday.
He told public radio Kossuth by phone from London that during talks with Britain’s Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport John Whittingdale on Tuesday they discussed ways to best protect youth, human dignity and human rights while preserving freedom of speech.
They also talked about a draft European Commission directive on protecting children’s rights and human rights by enforcing the regulations in the “country of origin” where the affected media owners are registered. He said he was in agreement with Whittingdale that fewer regulations are needed in many areas of life but closer cooperation is required in media regulation.
He added that he had briefed Whittingdale about plans to revamp the Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest following the example of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
On Tuesday evening Balog gave a lecture at the University College London (UCL) about Hungary’s achievements in social and economic developments over the past five years, saying a new type of communication was needed to address social problems. In the period between 1990 and 2010 the spheres of authority were not clearly distributed between the state, the local councils, and citizens and the activities of local communities and authorities were mostly focused on finding loopholes. Since 2010, the government had to take some unusual steps, and there was often no time to explain these in advance, he added.
Balog said that Hungary’s Roma were among the biggest losers in post-communist transformation during which some 1.5 million people lost their jobs, mainly as a result of poorly planned privatisation. Many of the affected people were unskilled labourers and this had a strong influence on the Roma community, he said. A key issue today is employment for the Roma, not only in Hungary but throughout Europe where an estimated 6-8 million Roma live. According to World Bank figures, if the average employment level could be achieved among the Roma community, then this could equal 2.2 percent economic growth in every affected European Union member state, he added.