The Hungarian National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) has published full details the country’s new media law in English. The legislation has already been widely condemned both within the country and by the EC, with Nellie Kroes, the European commissioner for media and broadcasting, saying it could violate EU media rules.
It is generally felt that the law is a direct threat to the freedom of the press in Hungary and its enactment could threaten the country’s EU rotating presidency role. On close examination of the legislation, Broadband TV News identified the following as among the key points relevant to the new media industry in Hungary:
• Audiovisual media service providers may not exercise the exclusive broadcasting right so as to deprive a substantial part (more than 20%) of the audience having access to the audiovisual media services…without the payment of a subscription fee.
• Programme quotas: media providers have to allocate over half of their annual programme time of linear audiovisual media to broadcasting European works and over a third to Hungarian works.
• Over 25% of on demand programmes in a calendar year have to be Hungarian works.
• Public media service providers have similar or higher quotas to meet.
• Product placement is only allowed in movies and certain programmes.
• Advertising in linear media services limited to 12 minutes per hour.
• Market concentration: linear audiovisual media service providers with an average annual audience share of at least 35% may not launch new media services, may not acquire shares in companies providing media services and shall take measures in order to increase the diversity of the media market.
• Media service providers with substantial influence are defined as linear audiovisual media service providers with an average annual audience share of at least 15%.