Top court rules presenting opposing view makes public media reporting balanced

The Constitutional Court has ruled that the requirement of balanced reporting by the public media is fulfilled if at least one opposing opinion is broadcast in reports on public events, news website said.

With its ruling, the top court unanimously rejected a complaint by the opposition Socialists submitted because public television had refused to present the party’s position on regulations concerning overtime pay, dubbed by critics as the “slave law”, said.

It added that opposition lawmakers had been banned from the public media headquarters by a notary decision citing the protection of property but this was later deemed unlawful by a court which ruled that the lawmakers had a right to be in the building.

The Socialists also complained that a public news channel M1 anchor discussed the decision with lawyers in an interview headlined “Opposition lawmakers threaten the public media”, but the affected lawmakers were not invited and a Socialist party statement was not presented in the programme.

The party turned to the media authority with its complaints and when the authority rejected them, they went to court.

At the end of a court procedure, the Kuria, Hungary’s supreme court, ruled that the requirement of balanced reporting had not been violated.

The complaint was then submitted to the Constitutional Court.

The top court ruling showed that balanced reporting does not require the presentation of all those promoting opposing views, only the views themselves have to be presented and it is up to the editors to decide who are invited to a programme, said.

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