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NGO sees press freedom in danger in Hungary

Hungary's new media bill “poses a threat to press freedom”, Freedom House warned in a press release published yesterday. The Washington-based NGO – which champions democracy, political freedom and human rights around the world – noted that the planned law would impose fines on private media organizations, including newspapers, websites, broadcasters, and other content providers, for “unbalanced” new coverage. Fines could be as much as $934,000. “This legislation, combined with other troubling moves against the media, will be a major setback for press freedom in Hungary,” said Karin Karlekar, managing editor of Freedom House’s annual Freedom of the Press index. “Of particular concern is the wording of the supposed ‘violations’ which is very is broad, creating an environment conducive to significant misuse, especially given the extremely polarized political environment in the country.” (BBJ)