Representatives of the Hungarian Prime Minister’s Office, the justice ministry, and media authority NMHH said in reaction to the memorandum that the document was “biased” and “based on assumption rather than facts” and that it “reopens issues settled years ago”. The document is mostly based on the opinion of “a handful but well-known civil groups critical of the government” and articles by internet portals, which “raises doubts about the objectivity of the memorandum”, they said.
Dunja Mijatovic, human rights commissioner of the Council of Europe, said in a memorandum on Tuesday that it was “high time for Hungary to restore journalistic and media freedoms”.
“The combined effects of a politically controlled media regulatory authority and distortionary state intervention in the media market have eroded media pluralism and freedom of expression,” according to the memorandum. Details HERE: Council of Europe: Hungarian press freedom is being compromised
They insisted that Hungary’s media law ensured that the Media Council’s members are not associated with political parties and that the body’s operations are independent of any attempts of political influencing.
They also added that any decision by the Council was appealable at courts.
Hungary’s media legislation is fully in line with the rule of law principles outlined by the European Union and guaranteed by Hungary’s laws, they said.
The representatives voiced the Hungarian government’s “disappointment” that the memorandum was based on “assumption rather than facts” despite the fact that “a number of government agencies had shared their views and background information with its author”.
They said “at a time of uncertainty and a feeling of threat caused by the pandemic it is even more important how such institutions as the Council of Europe give their opinion on a country’s media conditions and rules”. “An objective position and evaluation of member states is more important than ever,” they said.