Hot Topic - Hungary Media
Broadcasters often view media regulators as slightly less interesting than accountants. Always quoting the rulebook does not make good cocktail conversation. But these oracles of law and order can have a creative side… in a manner of speaking.
In the blink of the eye, we’re in 2012. Little has changed across the threshold except the calendar. Despots continue to push on media. But there’s always an election coming. “Every nation,” we’ve heard, “gets the government it deserves.”
Media watchers can wail and moan all day and all night. Once a political strongman decides to slam the door on independent media there’s little anyone can do. It’s “regrettable.”
The perfect storm cliché falls powerfully short in describing the havoc to befall the media sector in recent years. As digital media took its place in the sun economic malaise brought turbulance. Crony capitalism and poor public policy replaced crony statism and weak public policy. Riding out this storm is infinitely difficult.
Media policies, in theory, exist to help things work smoothly. Think how difficult broadcasting would be with spectrum rules. They can, in reality, be heavy handed or, even, under-handed. Unlike the laws of physics, sometimes its best to just try again.
Legal process can be arduous when claims cross borders. Broadcasters and publishers continue to struggle against governments intent on imposing control and political favoritism. International venues established by treaties often afford claimants a neutral hearing.
New laws taking effect with at New Year in Hungary attracted considerable attention from media and political commentators. Twenty years after escaping the Soviet Union’s grip, the authoritarian style of government is back in favor bring with it the urge to control the media sector. It’s not pretty but it’s easy to understand.
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