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Hungary’s disputed media law triggers initiatives to increase media protection in Europe

Hungary’s media law reforms are encouraging advocacy for further protection of the media in Europe, stated Euractive. com. The European Commission along with EU Commissioner in charge of media relations Neelie Kroes, is looking to establish a separate and outside monitoring entity to evaluate potential infringements on freedoms of the press.

The European Commission is also considering the lowering of value added tax (VAT) for online media publications when they vary from that of printed media.

Currently, print media receives a higher VAT rate than print media sources according to information gathered by the European Newspaper Publishers’ Association (ENPA), Euractiv.com writes. Web-based articles typically receive a tax rate between 15% and 25% within the EU, even when online adverts incur less revenue than printed adverts.

“We believe content should be taxed the same way, whether is printed or in tablets,” Jan Truszczynski, the director general for education and culture at the European Commission stated yesterday at a conference.

Overall, online journalism is struggling financially and would be aided by such VAT reductions. Trends in Europe suggest a decline in the number of accredited journalists, especially in Brussels according to journalists’ representatives. (BBJ)