PM Orban says only EU can deliver verdict on media law
<p>Budapest, January 6 (MTI) - Hungary s Prime Minister Viktor Orban told foreign journalists on Thursday that if Hungary changed its media law it would do so to comply with the EU as a whole, but Hungary would not be dictated to by France or Germany, Reuters reported.</p>
"It s not up to the French or the Germans" to say whether the Hungarian law complies with EU regulations, Orban said ahead of a ceremony in parliament to mark the start of the country s six-month EU presidency.
"The EU should decide," Orban said, adding that Hungary would accept any procedure launched by the EU, "because we are part of the EU".
Orban said earlier that if it came to changing passages of the Hungarian law then other nations should do the same to theirs.
"I can t imagine a situation where one says this aspect of the Hungarian law must be changed while the same in other countries does not need to be changed," Orban said.
"I don t remember Hungary criticising the French media law," he said, adding that he was glad to see Germany taking a softer line compared to initial comments in December, and he expected France would do the same.
France said earlier in the week that the law violated EU laws on press freedom. French government spokesman Francois Baroin told France Inter radio the law was "incompatible with the application of ideas on press freedom that have been validated in European treaties."
Germany s Deputy Foreign Minister Werner Hoyer told a German newspaper
late last year that he hoped Hungary would change the law, saying, "It would be very good if this issue could be cleared up quickly."
The new media law which came into effect on January 1 has been criticised at home and abroad for what its opponents see as a placement of strict control over the media.
Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Union Commission, said he would raise the media issue with Orban at a meeting taking place in Budapest on Friday.
Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi told journalists on Wednesday it would be wise to wait for the European Commission to examine the new law in detail and formulate its final opinion.