back to article Europe bites Hungary over media and internet censorship

A rumble of protest is spreading across Europe in reaction to a new media censorship law in Hungary. Yesterday, Europe’s Digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes told an Extraordinary meeting of the European Parliament's Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee that the EU had been in touch with the Hungarian …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Very European

    "The text is very European. There is no special regulation, no special Hungarian legislation in this law. All paragraphs and elements of this [legislation] are imported from EU Countries. So I think it is a European regulation.”

    "The text is very unthreatening. All words of this blackmail note are imported from newspapers and magazines."

  2. Luther Blissett


    As in Bolshevist Broadcasting Caballers perhaps?

  3. Zolko Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    more lies

    You didn't read the text of the law, did you ? You can read the english translation here :

    What it says about "balanced information" is the following (Article 181)

    "In case of infringement of the obligation of balanced communication (...) The applicant shall have the right to request (...) that the media service provider broadcast the viewpoint required for a balanced coverage."

    Nothing more !

    1. Jane Fae


      Sorry to disappoint, but idid indeed read - or at least skim thru the law, all 200 pages plus of it, last week. I also noted the bits about fines that were imposeable upon those who breached it...that, too, is in there.


      1. Zolko Silver badge

        breach of what ?

        The fines are there, yes, for those who breach, but breach what ?

        It is the breaching of *another* requirement, that is questionable but has nothing to do about the balanced information, and that is the disclosure of information: a *professional* journalist is required to hand over to the authority all documents - including those that are covered by law (!!!) - or face that fine. The government wants to protect itself from external propaganda.

        Publishers not in accordance with balanced information face actually no fines, as is clearly written in the law. All they are required to do is to publish an opposing point of view (think: war on Irak and US newspapers) (also think: I could request the Reg to publish an alternate view on this very subject !). The authority cannot, by itself, raise the "unbalanced information" trigger, it has to come from an external complaint.

        But than-you for your answer.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      So an overwhelming consensus of the applicable scientific world says that global climate change is taking place, therefore PR companies employed by Exxon-Mobil & Koch Industries must be allowed equal time/space to say its not?

      Or tobacco companies must be allowed equal amount of coverage as medical researchers over the effects of cigarette smoking?

      Plus ca change

  4. DJV Silver badge

    Competent Minister?

    But, Shirley, that's an oxymoron?

    1. Captain DaFt

      Don't call me Shirley!

      Competent Minister isn't an oxymoron, it's related to unicorns, satyrs and gryphons.

      (Although the latter three are easier to find!)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unbalanced and immoral

    ...content is what the internet is about! It's our right, dammit!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pot Kettle Black...

    Given all the censorship laws France, Britain et. all want to bring in, isn't this a little like the pot calling the kettle black...?

  7. prikkebeen

    In case of infringement of the obligation of balanced communication

    The word "obligation" says it all.

    1984 was not ment as a manual.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    You don't understand?

    Think: small US town, village community

    Think: small UK town, village community.

    Think: we care about our common values, decency and helping our kids to grow up without undue influence from Hollywood, tv and with robust morals.

    If you can think the above three then you are almost able to conceive the motives behind middle Europe wanting the best for its kids and citizens.

    True there is always the fear of untoward censorship and subtle harm but there is always a European Court for action upon those.

    Think (moreso):

    we want or kids to eat proper food

    we want food to go from the garden to the kitchen to the dinner table without a deep freeze or microwave in sight

    we want healthy and robust citizens with strong moral values and more than a fleeting understanding of "what's wrong and what's right"

    we want a good balance between working life, social life and family life

    There has to be a balance between global values and local values and sometimes local values have to win?

    1. Graham Marsden

      No, *you* don't understand!

      The arguments you put forward are the same ones which allowed the USA to try to censor adult material by deciding that "local standards" (even if they're the local standards of Bigotsville in the Bible Belt) should determine what *everyone else* in the country should or should not be allowed to read/ see/ view.

      You list things that *you* want and then with sheer arrogance, decide that because *you* think those things are right and good, they must be right and good for everyone, so everyone should agree with you.

      Sorry, you don't speak for anyone but yourself here, so don't assume that can tell everyone else that you have the right to decide this matters for them.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge

        @Graham Marsden


        There, much better

    2. It wasnt me
      Thumb Up


      I'll have one of whatever youv'e taken please. It looks like crazy shit !

  9. Graham Marsden

    Sorry, Baroness Ludford, but...

    ... saying “The EU cannot stand idly by while fundamental liberties are being undermined within its borders” rather over-looks the fact that the EU *has* done exactly that and continues to do so, the UK "Dangerous Pictures" and "Dangerous Drawings" Acts are just two of the latest examples.

    However at least the noble Baroness is making an effort to ensure that they *can't* simply let this sort of thing slide, the problem is making sure that it doesn't keep on happening.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    “The EU cannot stand idly by while fundamental liberties are being undermined within its borders.”

    Indeed. That's the EU's job.

  11. mhenriday

    «... if Hungary does not change the law[,]

    'it will be very difficult to talk to China or Iran about human rights'.» Not to worry ! We Europeans, like our frères in North America are masters of hypocrisy - always ready to point out the mote in our neighbour's eye, while ignoring the beam in our own. We shall continue to lecture the rest of the world regarding lack of human rights, while engaging in wars of aggression abroad and killing millions....


  12. Bernard M. Orwell

    O rly?

    "we want a good balance between working life, social life and family life."

    That may as may be, Mr. AC, but I don't want to be told by some over-inflated 'superior' moral authority to tell me what that appropriate balance is!

    I'm already sick and tired of my employer trying to take control of my home life with the concept of 'work/life balance' without the government trying to do the same.

    Employer; the transaction is simple. You pay me for work, then I go home. I work for as much time as you pay me for. No more, no less. When I go home I don't give you a second thought. That, old chap, is balance.

    Now, off with you.

  13. Sam Therapy
    Thumb Down

    The problem with any form of censorship...

    In simple it translates as:

    "I don't like it so you won't be able to have it because I know better than you."

    As for Baroness Ludford, what about the UK Police Database and the innocent people - including me - who are on there illegally, according to EU law? Would that you were equally concerned about the breaches of liberties in your own back yard.

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