Top court bars application of Budapest decree demanding space in free papers

The Kuria, Hungary's supreme court, has temporarily banned the application of a decree of the Budapest municipality which demanded space in certain free distribution newspapers in exchange for use of the city's public spaces.

At the request of the Budapest government office, the Kuria’s Local Government Council has banned the application of clauses in a metropolitan council decree under which the Budapest local government would dispose over the content of at least four pages in newspapers distributed free of charge in public spaces in Budapest, the court’s press department said.

Under the suspended clauses, the content of those pages would have been decided exclusively by the municipality, as long as it is “of public interest”.

In its justification, the Kuria said it would have been more harmful not to suspend the clauses in question than to reject the government office’s legal challenge. The suspension applies until the court issues a substantive decision in the matter, for which, under the law, it has 90 days.

According to press reports, the municipal council decree applies to the Pesti Hirlap and Metropol newspapers and aims to promote the appearance of public service advertisements in the papers.

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