Procedure : 2011/2510(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B7-0112/2011

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 16/02/2011 - 13
CRE 16/02/2011 - 13

Votes :

Texts adopted :

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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0103/2011

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Commission

pursuant to Rule 110(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on Media Law in Hungary

Martin Schulz, Hannes Swoboda, Maria Badia i Cutchet, Claude Moraes, Juan Fernando López Aguilar, Csaba Sándor Tabajdi on behalf of the S&D Group

European Parliament resolution on Media Law in Hungary  

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Treaty on European Union(1), the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union(2) and the European Convention on Human Rights(3), and notably their articles related to the respect, the promotion and protection of fundamental rights and of the freedom of expression and information and the right to media pluralism in particular,

–   having regard to Directive 2010/13/EU of 10 March 2010 on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the provision of audiovisual media services (Audiovisual Media Services Directive - AMSD),

–  having regard to the Commission's working document on media pluralism in EU Member States (SEC(2007)0032), the 'three-step approach to media pluralism' defined by the Commission and to the independent study carried out on behalf of the Commission and finalised in 2009,

–  having regard to its resolutions of 25 September 2008 concentration and pluralism in the media in the European Union, of 22 April 2004 on the risks of violation in the European Union and particularly in Italy of freedom of expression and information,

–  having regard to the statements by the Commission and the parliamentary questions tabled and debates held in the European Parliament on 8 October 2009 and on 8 September 2010 and in the LIBE committee on 17 January 2011,

–   having regard to Rule 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas European Union is founded on the values stipulated in Article 2 of TEU and recognises the legal value of the rights, freedoms and principles as set out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights, and through accession into the European Convention on Human rights, specifically those as enshrined in Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, safeguarding the freedom and pluralism of media, freedom to express opinions and freedom to receive and communicate information without interference or pressure from public authorities,

B.  whereas media pluralism and freedom continues to be a grave concern in the EU and its Member States, as highlighted by the recent criticism of the media laws in Hungary introduced between June and December 2010, as expressed by international organisations, such as OSCE and the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, high number of international and national professional organisations of journalists, editors and publishers, human rights and civil liberties NGOs, as well as by Member States and the European Commission,

C.  whereas the Commission has raised concerns and requested information from the Hungarian government in relation to the conformity of the Hungarian media laws with the AMSD, notably in relation to the obligation of balanced coverage applicable to all audiovisual media service providers, questioning also its compliance with the principle of proportionality and the fundamental rights of freedom of expression and information enshrined in Article 11 of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, the country of origin principle, the registration requirements, and whereas the Hungarian government responded by providing further information and by declaring their readiness to review the laws and amend them,

D.  whereas the European Parliament shares the serious doubts expressed by the OSCE, that the composition and the timeframe of the Media Authority and Media Council are politically homogeneous(4) and exert a pervasive and centralized governmental, judicial and political control on all media; that the most problematic features of the legislation contradict OSCE and international standards on freedom of expression, such as the abolition of the political and financial independence of public service media; the scope of the regulation (material and territorial); leaving key terms undefined making it impossible for journalists to know when they potentially breach the law,

E.  whereas the Council of Europe Commissioner on Human rights called the Hungarian authorities to incorporate Council of Europe standards on freedom of expression and media pluralism when reviewing its media laws, the relevant recommendations of the Committee of Ministers and Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and notably the binding standards contained in the ECHR and the case-law of the Strasbourg Court; he referred to the use of unclear definitions that may be subject to misinterpretation; the establishment of a politically unbalanced regulatory machinery with disproportionate powers and lack of full judicial supervision; threats to the independence of public-service broadcast media; and erosion of the protection of journalists’ sources; he further stressed the need for all relevant stakeholders, including opposition parties and civil society, to be able to participate in a meaningful manner in the review of this legislation, which regulates such a fundamental aspect of the functioning of a democratic society(5),

F.  whereas the media laws consequently should be reviewed on the basis of the Commission, OSCE and the Council of Europe remarks and proposals, to ensure that it is fully in conformity with EU law and European values and standards on media freedom and pluralism,

G. whereas despite repeated calls by Parliament for a directive on media freedom and pluralism, the Commission has up to now delayed this proposal, which has become increasingly necessary and urgent,

1.  Welcomes that as initial observation the Commission requested for clarifications on the Hungarian media laws and their conformity with EU Treaties and law, as well as the announcement made by the Hungarian authorities in relation to their readiness to amend the laws;

2.  Calls on the Commission to proceed in a swift and timely manner with its thorough investigations regarding bringing the Hungarian media laws into conformity with European legislation, particularly with the Charter on Fundamental Rights;

3.  Calls the Hungarian authorities to take into consideration the remarks and proposals made by OSCE and the Council of Europe Commissioner on Human Rights, Council of Ministers and the ECHR jurisprudence;

4.  Takes note of the assurances given by the Hungarian authorities on the interpretation and concrete application of the media laws, but underlines that legal certainty can only be ensured through the amendment of the laws;

5.  Calls the Commission, on the basis of Article 265 TFEU, to issue a proposal for a directive on media freedom and pluralism before the end of the year, hereby overcoming the inadequate EU legislative framework on media, making use of its competences in the fields of the internal market, audiovisual policy, competition, telecommunications, state subsidies, public service obligation and fundamental rights of citizens, in order to define at least the minimum essential conditions that all Member states must respect to ensure, guarantee and promote freedom of information and an adequate level of media pluralism;

6.  Calls the Hungarian authorities to review the media laws in an open and transparent manner, by involving all stakeholders, NGOs and citizens, with appropriate checks and balances to ensure the genuine freedom of the media;

7.  Calls on the Hungarian authorities, in the event that the laws are found to be incompatible with the letter or spirit of the Treaties or EU law, in particular the Charter of Fundamental Rights, to repeal and not to apply the laws or those elements thereof that are found to be incompatible;

8.  Calls on the Commission to set a strict deadline for its proposals to be adopted by the Hungarian authorities to change the law on the points raised by it, and shall the deadline not be met, proceed with infringement proceedings;

9.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Council of Europe, the governments and national parliaments of Member States, the Fundamental Rights Agency and the OSCE.


in particular its Article 2 TEU and those relating to respect for, and the promotion and protection of fundamental rights, and to Articles 11, 25, 49, 56, 103, 107, 114 and 167 of the EC Treaty.


in particular Article 11.


in particular Article 10.


Letter by OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media to the EP Chairman of the LIBE committee, 14.01.2010.


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