Media law is a contentious area, especially given the changes happening in the media and publishing industries currently. In addition, the process of harmonising world media law has barely begun.

In Pakistan, a proposed bill to ban video footage of suicide attacks could be used to silence government criticism. In Italy meanwhile, Berlusconi's 'gag law' has sparked media protest in Italy. 

What is the landscape of media law in your country?

How does it affect your work as a journalist?

How is the switch to digital/online media in your country affecting media law?


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Hungary grapples free press-issues

In June the new Hungarian Government (which won the April 2010 elections with 2/3 majority) passed a brand new but rather controversial media law, much criticised by press-freedom watchdogs.

The main controversy over the new law is that "it merges the national media supervisory authority with the telecommunications authority into a “Media Council.” The Council, which will supervise both public and private broadcasting, will be presided over by an appointee of the prime minister – the most influential political leader in Hungary – for a nine-year term, and cannot be dismissed unless he or she refuses to do the job."

"The members of the Council will be nominated by the Parliament so that its composition will roughly mirror the influence of the parties in the parliament, which was not the case with the old authority. Since the Council is responsible for nominating the directors of Hungary’s public service media positions, which had formerly been subject to open competition, critics warn of the prime minister’s direct influence on the future leaders of the public media."

Does it sound like an action supporting the Freedom of Press???
Thanks for your input Eszter! Keep the thoughts coming...
Critics say proposed Hungarian media reform stifles press freedom

Twenty years after its first post-Cold War democratic elections, Hungary's government has proposed new media laws that critics say puts the country's press freedom once again under threat.
Do they want to end up as Russia did??

From the Human Rights Watch Report 2009:

"The government continues tightening control over civil society through selective
implementation of the law on NGOs, restriction and censure of protected expression
and the media
, and harassment of activists and human rights defenders.
These actions form an unmistakable part of the Russian government’s efforts to
weaken—in some cases beyond recognition—the checks and balances needed for
an accountable government. In May oversight of NGOs was transferred from the
Federal Registration Service to the Ministry of Justice, raising hopes that the law
would be implemented less selectively, but as of this writing the transfer appears
to have had little practical effect."

Not to mention that according Reporters Sans Frontieres Russia ranked 153th out of 175 in the Press Freedom Index 2009 (whilst Hungary is still 25/26th)...

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