Local Hungarian newspapers published “blank cover pages” in a unified stance of protest after Hungary’s parliament OK’ed a bill giving some control of the media over to the government.
According to Bloomberg, the bill “will allow a regulator staffed” by prime minister’s political party appointees “to levy fines and shut down media outlets.”
TV and radio stations can be fined for biased reporting under the “newly created Media Council” and reportedly, the new bill could require media outlets “to reveal their sources” and “the media authority can search editorial offices, copy reporters’ notes and mandate that publishers hand over confidential business information.” Any outlet that doesn’t comply could be fined, Bloomberg reported Budapest-daily Nepszabadsad reported.
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“Regulating print media can curb media freedom and free public of debate, which are indispensable elements of democracies,” according to the media freedom representative for Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Dunja Mitjatovic.