EFJ Warns of Collapse of Journalism as a Public Good in Hungary


A  delegation of

the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the European group of the

International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today told reporters in Budapest

that the media law which has been enacted earlier in the year threatens the

survival of journalism as a public good in the country. The EFJ delegation held

a press conference in the Hungarian capital where it holding  round-table discussions with professional

representatives and media experts.


"We are appalled by the anxiety and the

uncertainties among the profession," said Roberto Natale, member of the

EFJ Steering Committee and president of the Italian journalists' union (FNSI).

"Public media were put under the umbrella of a single organisation

which  lacks transparency, social

dialogue and editorial independence".


A delegation of nine representatives of EFJ member

organisations also met with representatives of the newly created Hungarian

Broadcast Support and Asset Management Fund (MTVA) to start a regular dialogue

with them.


These meetings came after the new media law entered into

force and is being now fully implemented since 1st July 2011 and as journalists

are facing massive redundancy plans.


"Hundreds of jobs are threatened in public media and

the new media law is putting terrible pressure on editorial independence,"

said the Chairman of the EFJ broadcasting expert group John Barsby.  "We are in a battle for freedom of

information, truth, pluralism and democracy. It is a battle that the people of

Hungary cannot afford to see lost."


Over 500 of the total 3400 staff members at the four

state-run media companies - Magyar Rádió, MTV, Duna TV and MTI  have already been sacked and hundreds more

jobs are under threat. 


The EFJ is calling for  investing in public  media to

enhance quality and standards in journalism for the public good.


"Instead of cutting resources and try to defend

unclear Hungarian values in programmes, it is the responsibility of the

authorities to guarantee the financing of public media precisely to support

quality journalism as a public good," says the EFJ. "We call on

journalists and civil society groups across Europe to support Hungarian

journalists in their struggle by signing the SOS Hungary petition recently

launched by the Austrian union of journalists GPA."


The Federation has also urged the European institutions

to defend press freedom and public service values of journalism in Hungary, and

wherever it is necessary in Europe.


For more information, please contact the EFJ on + 32 2

235 22 00


The EFJ represents more than 250.000 members in over 30

countries For more information