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Justice minister: Left-liberal media booming in Hungary

Judit Varga, Hungary's justice minister, said she held talks on Thursday with Dunja Mijatovic, the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights, who is preparing a memorandum on the situation of media freedom and freedom of expression in Hungary.

The minister told the commissioner that, unlike in western Europe, there was real diversity in Hungary’s media landscape.

“The left-liberal press is booming and has a decisive role in public life …” Varga said on Facebook on Friday.

Concerning freedom of expression, Varga noted that scare-mongering was punishable under the Criminal Code, even before the Covid-19 pandemic. In the meantime, no regulations passed after the introduction of special legal order had breached freedom of expression requirements, she said, adding that Hungary’s Constitutional Court had confirmed this opinion.

The minister said Hungary would be open to further dialogue and expressed hope that Mijatovic would draft her memorandum without any ideological bias.

On the subject of regulation of social media giants, Varga said: “We are of the same opinion that it is not enough to trust the good faith and self-regulation of tech companies, it would be timely to have a common set of EU rules.”

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