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2 July 2014
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Péter Niedermüller (S&D) , Csaba Molnár (S&D)
Subject: Hungary’s advertising tax and its compatibility with EU rules on freedom of the media
Hungary’s Law No XXII of 2014 on advertising tax, which was promulgated on 17 June 2014 and will enter into force on 18 July 2014, will have an adverse impact on media pluralism in Hungary, restrict freedom of the press and distort competition on the media market. Advertising tax will have to be paid on press products at a progressive rate in relation to their advertising revenue. The first half-billion forint per annum of advertising revenue will be tax-free, whereas above a revenue of HUF 20 billion, tax will be levied at 40%. The intention behind the law, as unambiguously stated by the government, is to target the TV channel RTL Klub, which, while it cannot be described as an opposition channel, is not supervised by the government. The OSCE official responsible for freedom of the press, Dunja Mijatović, has also expressed concern about the Hungarian advertising law.
1. To what extent does the recently adopted law on advertising tax — which restricts freedom of the media and undermines the political and financial independence of the media — accord with European values and norms relating to media independence?
2. To what extent are the measures restricting freedom of the media compatible with Articles 2, 3, 6 and 7 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), Articles 49, 56, 114, 167 and 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), Article 11 of the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights concerning respect for and promotion and defence of fundamental rights, particularly freedom to express opinions and to receive information and the right to media pluralism?
3. If they are not compatible, will the Commission take legal action to bring the law into line with the European Union’s acquis?
Original language of question: HU
Last updated: 24 July 2014