The opposition Socialist Party on Thursday said it will sue Hungary’s Media Council over its failure to act against the acquisition of Echo TV, Magyar Idők, New Wave Media and Opus Press by the Central European Press and Media Foundation.
As we wrote a few days ago, the Central European Foundation of Press and Media was set up, meaning the foundation of a non-profit media holding as a symbol of right-wing unity. It took only a few hours to reorganise the complete pro-government media; the total centralisation was completed with just two announcements (Read more details HERE.)
Also we wrote yesterday, saving the print media in Hungary is of public interest, the Government Information Centre (KTK) said on Wednesday, referring to the government decision to grant the Central European Press and Media Foundation’s acquisition of control over Opus Press, Echo TV, New Wave Media Group and Magyar Idők Publishing a status of special significance for national strategy, read more HERE.
Addressing a press conference, Gergely Orsi, the deputy leader of the party’s Budapest chapter, noted that since the announcement of the acquisitions, the government has declared the acquisitions of “strategic national significance”, thus exempting the transaction from the scrutiny of the Competition Office (GVH) and the Media Council.
The Socialists believe
the courts have a right to oblige the council to scrutinise the transaction,
Orsi said. Though the classification of the acquisitions as of strategic interest may mean that the transaction cannot be examined by the GVH, this does not apply to the media council, he argued.
He said that if President János Áder stays silent on the matter, it would show that he “only represents the unity of the Fidesz party media”.
Socialist MEP István Ujhelyi told the same press conference that
“[Prime Minister Viktor] Orbán’s media mafia” was in breach of not just “democratic decency” but also the European Union’s founding treaty, its Charter of Fundamental Rights and EU regulations on public financing.
Ujhelyi said he would file a complaint against the measures with the EU’s competition commissioner and the European Parliament’s economic and monetary affairs and internal market and consumer protection committees.