Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hungary's new media laws

It's almost Hungary's time for its rotation into the presidency of the EU, but I don't think that's going to happen after the laws they just passed. Not that they should worry because the EU is only destructive and they don't NEED to be a part of it, but the reason why that is being considered is alarming. A law passed by the Hungarian parliament allows the National Media and Communications Authority to impose heavy fines on material deemed unbalanced, profane, immoral, etc. In short, they can "regulate" what is put in private Hungarian media.

I know Hungary hasn't exactly had the best last half century, what with communism and all, but seriously? Talk about a step backwards. Of course the law should be repealed, and hopefully they will take the Socialist Party's advice and send it to the Constitutional Court (Note: agreeing with Socialists here).

The thought of government controlled or regulated media is scary, and instantly 1984 comes to mind. Media, no matter how offensive, profane, or biased, is still media and is therefore free. It ties to our being a Republic. If a majority finds something to be offensive, they don't get to have it removed because there is a minority that doesn't believe that. The only option is to leave it be. Politicians in our past have gotten this confused, and in fact sometimes still do. The sedition acts, verbal assaults against WikiLeaks, the condemnation of Fox News, and especially the passing of these Net Neutrality laws, are all ways the government meddles in a free media.

It's not their place. A society with controlled media is a controlled society.

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