Hungary's new media laws have made sweeping changes to the country's public service media system. Each of Hungary's public service media outlets—three national TV, three radio stations and one national news service—are now supervised by a single body headed by a chairperson appointed by the Media Council. The assets of these outlets have been transferred to a newly established public media fund, which is managed by the Media Council. News content for all public media stations is produced centrally by Hungary's national news service, MTI, which is headed by a new director who was nominated by the Media Council chairperson. Opponents claim the measures have eliminated the independence of Hungary's public service media, bringing all aspects—from programming to funding to regulatory supervision—under the Media Council's control. Critics also warn that the new centralised news-production system threatens the public media's diversity and pluralism.

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Hungarian Government statement

The CEO of ORF in Austria (Alexander Wrabetz ever since 2008) is elected also by way of a nomination based procedure, without tendering; where party nominated members of ORF's Foundation Council have the authority to make a nomination.


Expert assessment: appointing directors of public media

The description of the election of the director of ORF (Österreichischer Rundfunk) is essentially accurate, and it illustrates a common problem with regulatory bodies and the governance of public service broadcasting across Europe: each government aims to appoint individuals more "friendly" to its policies. However, the Austrian system attempts to reduce the impact of governmental appointments with a multilevel system of internal governance and by allowing civil society to nominate members of the Foundation Council. This means that the Foundation Council or Stiftungsrat—which is like the body once known as the "Kuratorium" in the Audiovisual Law of 1974—is not constructed purely along party lines.


Kari Karppinen, PhD/ Hannu Nieminen, PhD, University of Helsinki

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