Josef hírek

2010.12.05. 16:46

Weeklies to protest against media bill with blank front page

<p>Budapest, December 1 (MTI) - Two Hungarian weeklies - Elet es Irodalom and Magyar Narancs - will be published with a blank front page on Thursday and Friday in protest against Hungary s new media bill.</p>

Commenting on the editors decision, Erzsebet Menczer, an MP of the governing Fidesz party and a drafter of the bill, said that the Hungarian press is free, "anyone can do what they want".

    Magyar Narancs editor-in-chief Endre Bojtar B. called the blank cover "the most conspicuous form of protest". According to the paper, the bill would give the Media Council, the new authority supervising Hungary s media sector, and the government total control over the Hungarian printed, online and electronic media, and make freedom of expression "a thing of the past".

    The daily Nepszava will express its agreement with the two weeklies decision in its Friday issue.

    Gabor Gavra, editor of the online news site, said that his publication would carry out an "interesting action" to express its agreement with the weeklies on Thursday morning.

    Addressing Parliament on Wednesday, Menczer said that the bill would be compatible with European regulations and guarantee the freedom of the press.

     Menczer said the media regulation should serve the interests of media professionals, guaranteeing their freedom while protecting public interest.  

    Under the bill the new authority supervising Hungary s media sector will have wide powers to apply sanctions such as imposing fines for papers or broadcasters that break the law. Newspapers could face fines of up to 25 million forints (EUR 89,000) and news websites 10 million, whereas TV and radio stations could be fined between 50 million and 200 million forints for infractions.

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