Finnish presidency to increase pressure on Hungary

Finland – who wolds the the presidency of the Council of the EU from the 1st of July – wants to speed up the Article 7 procedure against Hungary and hold a formal hearing in the General Affairs Council, diplomatic sources told Euronews.

According to the Finnish presidency’s manifesto, “Finland promotes the rule of law and human rights,” and stresses that “access to EU funding can be made conditional on compliance with rule of law”.

Meanwhile, Zoltan Kovacs, the state secretary for international communication sent a letter to EUObserver, in which he responded to an opinion piece by Harlan Mandel, published on the 6th of June.

Kovacs points out that Mandel is heading the Media Development Investment Fund, which has received at least $16.5m from George Soros. “In Hungary, for example, MDIF funds exclusively left-liberal media outlets,” Kovacs writes, adding that “they are free to do so, of course, but let’s not pretend that the MDIF, as an investor in media, is somehow a neutral, value-free player on these media markets”.

He also argues that “the Hungarian media landscape is still far more colourful, (…) the biggest television audience share by far belongs to RTL Klub – and 71 percent of Hungarians get their info from television”. Kovacs adds that Index.hu, “a news platform staunchly critical of the Orban government” has the biggest online audience, and “among he top 100 Hungarian websites, according to the DKT council that measures audience share, media that could be considered as having conservative leanings and sympathetic to the government garner approximately 1.7m pageviews daily. Online, liberal media critical of the government pull in 3.5m per day – more than double”.

Finally, he states that the media law “has been amended several times, following negotiations with EU institutions, and is completely congruent with European norms”.

Source: Hungary Journal, EUObserver
Photo: MTI

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