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Aidan White

hungaryprotests

Published: 18 January 2012

Region: Hungary

By Aidan White

Just two months after the Media Diversity Insitute and other press freedom groups called for more solidarity within Hungarian journalism to counter state threats to the press a new group of independent editors is launched in Budapest today. The Hungarian Editors’ Forum, an association for ethical journalism and self-regulation, is a group which says it has a bold prescription for the country’s media crisis – more independent reporting and higher standards.

The group brings together editors across all media platforms and seeks to promote genuine self-regulation of media in order to blunt the attack on journalism that observers fear is behind the country’s controversial Media Law which came into effect last year.

In November an international mission including MDI visited Budapest and met with journalists, experts and government officials to examine the impact of the Media Law.

The report of the mission reiterated concerns expressed by human rights leaders from the United Nations, the Council of Europe, and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and said that Hungary’s new media law had a “chilling effect” on press freedom.

The mission also said that divisions in the media community and a lack of professional solidarity were a contributing factor to the “perfect storm” of problems, including political interference and industry restructuring, which threaten to overwhelm the country’s media system.

“This new forum is a welcome step forward,” said Milica Pesic, MDI Director. “It is a positive response by journalists and media leaders to the growing crisis for democracy in Hungary in which media are at the centre. We will do everything we can to support their efforts to promote independent and inclusive journalism.”

The Editors Forum has also adopted a new set of ethical guidelines which it hopes all editors across the country will support.


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