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Liberal party urges digital broadcasting bill

Hungary's economic competitiveness will suffer in Europe if Parliament next week fails to pass the government's bill on digital broadcasting, the IT minister told reporters on Friday. "Hungary's competitiveness very much depends on whether the local transmissions are converted fully by the end-2011 deadline called for by the European Union," said Kálmán Kovács. He added that he saw little chance however of the main opposition party Fidesz backing the bill's sections requiring a two-thirds majority. Fidesz has submitted amendments to extend the broadcast authority ORTT's power to regulate contents on the internet andmobile service providers. Kovács, who belongs to the liberal SZDSZ party, said Fidesz's amendments would be the equivalent of introducing a "modern-day inquisition". To get all the eight frequencies that Hungary asked for at the UN's conference on land transmitted digital broadcasting in late May a legal regulatory framework must be established. That is why SZDSZ is urging that the bill's chapters that require only a simplemajority of votes are passed, said Kovács. It appears that the senior ruling MSZP party does not support this initiative, he added. Chairman of SZDSZ's New Generation youth arm Emese John said the liberals strongly back  legal file-swapping the internet by creating a framework for copyright. Communications sector representatives, customers and the copyright experts have worked together on the bill.