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European Commission ’unable to act’ on Hungarian media complaints

May 6th, 2021

A left-wing journalist lambasts the European Commission for failing to confront what he sees as excessive media concentration in Hungary.

In Népszava, Miklós Hargitai finds European Commissioner Věra Jourová incompetent on antitrust matters, after the Commissioner for Values and Transparency said the Commission was ’unable to act’ on complaints against the government-sponsored foundation, which regrouped several hundred media outlets. (Ms Jourová said the Hungarian media group was too small for intervention as competition law was designed for bigger mergers.) Hargitai, a former Népszabadság columnist who serves as chairman of the government-critical journalists union (MÚOSZ), accuses the European Commission of ’feigning impotence’ in the face of Hungarian practices which, he asserts, are in clear violation of both European and Hungarian media rules. He mentions that earlier complaints against the ‘market-distorting effect of the excessive funding of the Public Media Company’ and against public advertising spending used to support selected media outlets, have been lying on the desks of European Commissioners for years. Hargitay blames the lack of progress on the issue on the idleness of Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and her deputy, Margarethe Vestager.

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