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Europe

Hungary may compromise with EU on media law

The EU says Hungray has indicated it might compromise on a media law that has embarrassed the bloc as it seeks to promote democratic standards elsewhere.

Hungarian activists hold a banner over the river Danube

The law created a controversial supervisory authority

The European Union said Tuesday that Hungary had signaled its willingness to change a controversial media law that has caused tension between Budapest and the rest of the bloc.

A spokesman for the EU’s Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes said the Hungarian government had responded to a request from the European Commission earlier this month asking Hungary to clarify aspects of the legislation.

The Commission had warned Budapest that it suspected the new law of violating technical EU media rules as well as fundamental principles on freedom of expression.

"The government is committed to having a media regulation which is fully in line with the requirements of European Union law," Hungarian Justice Minister Tibor Navracsics wrote to Kroes.

The contested new legislation came into effect on January 1, just as Budapest took over the rotating EU presidency. The law created a new authority – led by a close ally of Prime Minister Viktor Orban – which has the right to regulate media content and impose fines of up to 734,000 euros ($100 million) for radio and television.

Author: Sarah Harman (AFP, Reuters)
Editor: Andreas Illmer

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