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Hungary / Freedom of expression: UN expert to engage Government on criticized media legislation

GENEVA (1 April 2011) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue, will undertake a mission to Hungary from 3 to 5 April 2011 to engage on the criticized media legislation.*

“This visit is part of an ongoing dialogue and cooperation with the Government of Hungary”, said La Rue, who noted that his concerns regarding the media laws have already been raised with the Government on numerous occasions since they were adopted by the Parliament on 20 December 2010, and came into effect on 1 January 2011. On 7 March 2011, the Parliament introduced amendments to the legislation.

“I will discuss with the Government and other stakeholders on how to ensure that the amended media laws come into full compliance with Hungary’s international human rights obligations,” said the Special Rapporteur.

During his visit, Mr. La Rue will meet with Government officials as well as representatives of civil society and the media.

A press conference will be held at 10:00 on 5 April at the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration (1055 Budapest, Kossuth Lajos tér 2-4).

Frank La Rue was appointed as Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression in August 2008 by the UN Human Rights Council. As Special Rapporteur, he is independent from any Government or organization and serves in his individual capacity. The UN first decided to appoint a Special Rapporteur to examine questions relevant to the right to freedom of opinion and expression in 1993. The mandate, since reviewed and extended in 2011, involves reporting annually to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly on issues related to freedom of opinion and expression.

(*) - Law on the Freedom of the Press and the Fundamental Rules on Media Content (Act CIV of 2010): http://www.kormany.hu/download/c/b0/10000/act_civ_media_content.pdf
- Law on Media Services and Mass Media (Act CLXXXV of 2010): http://www.nmhh.hu/dokumentum.php?cid=25694

For further information on the Special Rapporteur’s mandate, please visit: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/opinion/index.htm

OHCHR Country Page – Hungary: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/HUIndex.aspx

For press inquiries and additional information regarding the visit, please contact Ms. Momoko Nomura (Mob: +41 79-444-4078 / email: Mnomura@ohchr.org)