The European Parliament has reached a decision instructing Hungary’s government to review its media regulation should it be found that its provisions are in violation of EU principles.
The majority of MEPs – albeit with a small margin of 316 ayes to 264 nays – supported a vote that criticized Hungary’s legislation on multiple accounts as well as the European Commission for its failure to thoroughly evaluate the document’s contents.
The European Parliament has continued to criticize the law introduced by Viktor Orbán’s government since it is claimed to violate freedom of the press and also the independence of regulation on broadcasting. The EP is particularly concerned by the fact that the council overseeing regulatory affairs has exclusively government-delegated members. This issue has also been raised by liberties groups in Hungary as well as the OSCE.
The EP likewise came down on the European Commission for the limited scope of legal requirements in which it reviewed Hungary’s rules and found only three objectionable items. The vote says that Hungary is in violation of freedom of the press and as such, EU directives regarding racism, nationalism and combating terrorism should also have been included in the basis of the evaluation.
The EP majority also supported a call on the European Commission to devise a framework ensuring media pluralism and the independence of media regulatory bodies in member states.