IPI/IFEX, 11 April 2011 – The South and East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South East and Central Europe and an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), has launched a specialized website dedicated to press freedom-related developments in Hungary. The Budapest-based Center for Independent Journalism, a member of the South East European Network for Professionalization of Media (SEENPM), is SEEMO’s partner in this project.
The website http://www.hungarypressfreedom.org contains news, exclusive monthly reports, legal and political analyses, as well as expert opinions on the Hungarian Media Constitution and Media Act (Media Law) and its subsequent amendments.
The website follows political events and debates in Hungary and includes links to information and analyses on Hungary elaborated by governments, as well as human rights organisations specialized in press freedom.
The Hungarian Media Law, approved in December 2010, was criticized before and after its adoption. Some of its articles appear to violate European press freedom standards. Both IPI and SEEMO have advocated for changes, as have the European Commission, the OSCE and a host of Hungarian and international press freedom and freedom of expression groups. As a result of international pressure and criticism, especially by the European Commission, some controversial paragraphs of the law were amended and approved in March 2011. However, most press freedom organisations, including IPI and SEEMO, consider these amendments “cosmetic” rather than substantial.