Melia's testimony on Hungary's media contains 'innacurate statements'
Annamaria Szalai, the head of the National Media and Broadcasting Authority (NMHH), told MTI that in a letter addressed to Melia, she explains that the testimony before a subcommittee of the United States House of Representatives by US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Thomas O. Melia expressing concern about Hungary’s media rules contains misinformation and inaccurate statements, reports Politics.hu.
In her letter, Annamaria Szalai thanked the US official for taking such a special interest in Hungarian media regulation, but said the testimony contained “many mistaken or inaccurate statements.”
Szalai acknowledged that the head of the NMHH has the power to issue decrees under Hungary’s media law, but said these decrees cannot be used to limit the free operation of the media.
Melia told the subcommittee media services could face fines up to “$950,000” for unbalanced reporting, but Szalai said the NMHH has no authority to impose fines for such things. Regulations on balanced reporting have been in force in Hungary since 1996, and similar rules exist in the UK, Germany and France, she added.
In his report to the House Subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia, Melia said the replacement of members of a media oversight board “with candidates aligned with the ruling party” was one of “several recent events [that] are cause for significant concern about Hungary’s democratic trajectory.”
At the time the testimony was made, Zoltan Kovacs, Hungary’s state secretary in charge of government communications, dismissed Melia’s remarks, saying they were based on a “lack of information and malicious distortions.”
SUPPORT THE BUDAPEST BUSINESS JOURNAL
Newspaper organizations across the globe have struggled to find a business model that allows them to continue to excel, without compromising their ability to perform. Most recently, some have experimented with the idea of involving their most important stakeholders, their readers.
We would like to offer that same opportunity to our readers. We would like to invite you to help us deliver the quality business journalism you require. Hit our Support the BBJ button and you can choose the how much and how often you send us your contributions.