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Hungarian Officials Can Now Censor the Media

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the constant-bleeping dept.

Censorship 185

An anonymous reader writes "Hungary is set to regulate the media, including web-published content, under a new law applicable today. The law requires all the media to provide a 'balanced view' and must not go against 'public morality,' and places all publications under the control of a new regulating body, whose top members have all been nominated by Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Orban, whose strong ways have been compared to Putin's, has been tightening his grip over Hungary. 'In the seven months since Orban came to power with a two-thirds parliamentary majority, he has implemented retroactive taxes in violation of the constitution, curbed the Constitutional Court's power, effectively nationalized private pension funds and put ruling-party allies in charge of at least four independent institutions, including the audit office.' Citizens sentenced in application of the new law can still challenge it at the European Court of Human Rights — see you in a few years."

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185 comments

You control the media... (2)

ELCouz (1338259) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732156)

You control the people...

Re:You control the media... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34732192)

So you think that'll be easy Karma, eh, WHORE? You're an ass, and that's a fact.

Re:You control the media... (1)

fishexe (168879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732212)

Who's the bigger ass, the ass or the ass that follows him?

Re:You control the media... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34732364)

Bill O'Reilly of course.

Re:You control the media... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34732480)

Who's the bigger ass, the ass or the ass that follows him?

The concept of recursion seems beyond your ken.

Re:You control the media... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34733140)

Yes, but in the long run it is self defeating as is every organization surrounded by yes men.

Eventually the leader looses touch with reality and the whole thing falls down taking a lot of people with him.

One cannot make effective decisions in a vaccuum.

This is Bush's fault (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34732200)

Hey, if it's a good enough excuse for Obama, it's OK for other countries, too.

Translated to Headline du Jour (5, Interesting)

DirePickle (796986) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732202)

Has the industrialized world reached Peak Freedom?

Re:Translated to Headline du Jour (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34732236)

Long ago. In fact we haven't been at peak Freedom in nearly a decade minimum.

Re:Translated to Headline du Jour (2)

julesh (229690) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732450)

Long ago. In fact we haven't been at peak Freedom in nearly a decade minimum.

I'd contend that "peak freedom" must have occurred before most countries began requiring passports or visas to pass through their borders. This happened surprisingly recently in most cases; e.g. the 1930s for most of Europe, IIRC.

Just think: being able to travel internationally without being required to prove who you were. It's a freedom we lost so long ago it almost sounds idealistically crazy.

Re:Translated to Headline du Jour (1, Insightful)

Psion (2244) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732924)

And now the same thing is going on within the borders of the United States. Not only do we have to present identification and submit to a search when we travel by air, but Janet Napolitano has indicated that the same procedures are coming for travel by trains and buses. And given the emergence of "border checkpoints" up to 100 miles into the country from any border, it isn't going to be much longer before travel by car, bike, or foot is restricted to only those who can show identification.

For the sake of safety, of course. It's a different world since 9/11!

It's a different world since 1776, too.

Re:Translated to Headline du Jour (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34733590)

Well, as a citizen, you do have the right to freely move within the USA. However, you are only free to do so using your own two feet. Once you want to use any form of transportation, particularly public transportation, that right is no longer applicable, as the gov't has the moral obligation to make sure you aren't a terrorist. Or violating copyright law.

Re:Translated to Headline du Jour (1)

jovius (974690) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732564)

Only during the ecstatic moments of a revolution the people are truly free.

1920s (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34732726)

Peak Freedom in the USA was the 1920s. The Depression, Roosevelt, Court Packing, the New Deal and The Fed (the prior decade) began the process.

Re:1920s (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34732782)

False. Peak freedom in the USA came right before the McCarthy era. Roosevelt aided freedom.

Re:1920s (2)

jcr (53032) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732894)

Roosevelt aided freedom

I'm sure that will come as a great surprise to Mr. Korematsu and thousands more who were imprisoned for their race during the Roosevelt regime.

-jcr

Re:1920s (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732820)

Depends on what kind of person you are. If you're a female or black, your peak freedom was probably in the 1990s. For white males, 1920s definitely.

Having to ride at the back of the bus and not being allowed to vote don't sound like "freedom" to me (I just looked it up, and women could only vote starting in 1920, but that's not enough time for it to really be ingrained in society). Also, I don't think women could really be considered free until they had effective birth control available, which started with the invention of The Pill. Before that, it was pretty easy for a woman to be raped and then blamed publicly for being pregnant out-of-wedlock, just like in Saudi Arabian society now. It's only been in recent decades that women really have any freedom in western societies approaching the freedoms of men, and they still don't have any kind of freedom in other cultures, despite liberals' assertions about how wonderful and "rich" these other cultures are.

Re:1920s (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34732972)

Also, I don't think women could really be considered free until they had effective birth control available, which started with the invention of The Pill. Before that, it was pretty easy for a woman to be a whore and then blamed publicly for being pregnant out-of-wedlock.

Fixed that for you.

Re:1920s (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 3 years ago | (#34733536)

Yeah and the world is 6000 years old

Come on sick puppy, go get some education.

Re:1920s (1)

Lakitu (136170) | more than 3 years ago | (#34733016)

"Peak freedom" was during the period of time where making alcohol for your own consumption was banned?

yeah, okay.

New World War (4, Insightful)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732234)

It seems like a lot of countries are going on a slide towards dictatorships and totalitarianism, and if it doesn't stop, I'm pretty sure we're going to see World War III, and I'm willing to bet it's within the next 50 years. The problem with WWIII is going to be, it's not going to be countries banding together to stop aggression from another bloc of countries, but fighting for the right to rule over other countries. Russia, USA, UK, Italy, Hungary, China, and North Korea are the ones off the top of my head sliding that way, though there's a bunch of other countries who might give them a run for their money (Iran et al).

more like (2)

chronoss2010 (1825454) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732308)

lets see Germany sliding back to old ways, Hungary becoming like it once was....Italy being run buy a dictator with mob connections.....the popes a nazi lover.... did we win WW2? OR just delay the brain dead take over

Re:more like (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732904)

Maybe I'm missing something as an ignorant American, but how is Germany sliding back to its old ways? From my perspective over here, it seems like Germany is one of the freest, best-managed countries around, with one of the highest living standards in the world, and a very strong economy with very high exports of high-value goods. Sure, they have lots of taxes and business regulation like any Western European country, but that has nothing to do with a lack of individual freedom. If anything, it seems like Germany would be one of the best places to be if things start going to hell soon: great economy, strong work ethic, pretty good military, and tons of high-tech industrial capacity to build up a war machine in very little time if it became necessary for defense (plus lots of smart, well-trained people to work in it).

The USA, aside from the fact that it's resembling WWII Germany more and more every day, doesn't have most of those things: the economy sucks, it's a house of cards, there's very little real manufacturing capacity because it's all been shut down and shipped to China, there aren't that many smart, well-trained people in technical fields (engineering is less and less popular every day, and more and more engineers are foreigners and would probably move home if things got bad), etc. Sure, there's a huge military, but the technical expertise and industry needed to keep it running is fading fast (from what I've seen, defense contractors seem to be a place for crappy engineers to get a job, i.e. "welfare for engineers"). Of course, politically things are getting really bad here with everyone turning into fans of Fascism and wanting more wars for imperialism.

As far as the Pope's concerned, I don't think he's really very important in Western society any more, even in Italy. However, he's VERY important in Latin America; if it weren't so hard to pick up 2000-year-old buildings and move them to another continent, it'd really make a lot of sense for the Vatican to move to Mexico or Brazil or something, as that's where 80% of their followers are.

But the way many governments are going is very, very worrying: Hungary, Italy, Russia, USA, etc.

Re:New World War (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732322)

It seems like a lot of countries are going on a slide towards dictatorships and totalitarianism, and if it doesn't stop, I'm pretty sure we're going to see World War III, and I'm willing to bet it's within the next 50 years.

All governments slide towards dictatorship and totalitarianism because all governments want more power. The best you can do is try to put roadblocks in the way to delay them long enough for enough resistance to get in the way of their plans.

But most people will cheer for the dictator so long as he promises to give them free stuff paid for with other people's money.

Re:New World War (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732790)

And a wise dictators deliver the bread and circuses that keep a population happy. That is until they've delivered the dictator absolute power. People tend towards complacency and cowardice, and a dictator has it made if he can invoke both.

Re:New World War (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34733616)

And yet there's a huge movement in the US against such socialist evils as treating people's illness regardless of whether the insurance industry's death panels approve.

Re:New World War (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732338)

My guess is the next "world war" (more a "worldwide war") will be governments vs. the people.

Re:New World War (1)

PeterBrett (780946) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732514)

My guess is the next "world war" (more a "worldwide war") will be governments vs. the people.

My guess is that the next "world war" will be the Last War.

Re:New World War (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732528)

My guess is the next "world war" (more a "worldwide war") will be governments vs. the people.

What the fuck does that even MEAN?

Re:What does that mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34732622)

Too bad you don't respond to Anons.
One of us could explain it to you.
Before you scoff at the Anon label think for a moment that there are only seven people here who both change the title field and put two dashes beside the name.

--Anon

Re:What does that mean (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732936)

There's a good reason to not respond to Anons: it helps stigmatize the use of anonymous posting for legitimate comments. Most anonymous comments are just trolls and flamebait.

Unfortunately, having a firm policy of not responding to Anons isn't good either, because there's many valid reasons for posting Anon with certain posts/topics, such as when saying something about your employer and being worried about being identified, saying something about a crime you've committed, or something along those lines.

Most of the time, however, posting Anon is just a way for trolls to annoy people without repercussions.

Re:What does that mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34733018)

Most non-anonymous comments are just trolls and flamebait, too.

That's why the name of the submitter is irrelevant. It doesn't matter if it's "Anonymous Coward" or "Grishnakh" or "jcr". The only thing that matters is the message. It's foolish to consider anything besides the message itself.

Re:What does that mean (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#34733068)

Sorry, but when 75% of Anon messages are trolls and flamebait, and 25% of non-anon messages are, it makes sense to ignore the Anon postings so you don't have to wade through as much shit to read legitimate posts.

When there's a real name attached to the message, it becomes easy to identify posters who have a habit of posting flames and trolls, and then you can individually filter those people out in your Preferences. I have a small list of people whose messages I never read; they're called "Foes" on Slashdot. There's no way to filter out the troublemakers when they post Anon, so it's tempting to just ignore all Anon posts.

Re:New World War (2)

Bitmanhome (254112) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732594)

My guess is the next "world war" (more a "worldwide war") will be governments vs. the people.

I believe that's the definition of "civil war".

Re:New World War (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732974)

Not really. You can't have much of a war without soldiers. Governments have to get their soldiers from the People (unless they hire foreign mercenaries), so a civil war usually means one group of the People that fights on the side of the existing government, and another group of People who fights against it to overthrow it (or establish a separate autonomous region). It's not like the politicians are going to take up arms and start shooting at their people themselves.

The idea of a world war of governments fighting against their people is really ridiculous. They might fight against certain disgruntled groups of their People, but not all or even most of them. When most of the population is against a government, and no one bothers to stands up to fight for the government, then you generally have a bloodless coup.

Re:New World War (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732710)

1, Well, Hungary still doesn't have an Internet filter like Australia (and there's no plan about making one), so you just put your server abroad. The already banned neo-nazi Kurucinfo e.g. hosts its portal in Hong Kong.

2, This law is quite unpopular even here in Hungary. At the moment it seems unlikely for the governing party (FIDESZ) to win next election.

3, There's still the possibility to appeal to court. FIDESZ doesn't really have influence there.

4, The only really problematic part of the law is the requirement of balancedness. We'll see how that will play out, but I don't think the courts will be biased in FIDESZ' support in this regard.

Balanced view (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732282)

Yes, for sure, government officials are much more likely to know what a balanced view is than us the common people. Thank God those poor Hungarians don't need to evaluate among different options at the newsstand, the Government has done that for them.

However, I pity those poor government censors who must look through all that pornography in order to censor it. Their brains will be fried in no time, as happens to everyone who sees pornographic text or images.

It's retroactive... (2)

Nrrqshrr (1879148) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732304)

When libertarians and left wing parties earned the "power", they kind of decieved the populace and we ended up with the extremist right wings getting more influence again.
I imagine that, as this continues, it will inevitably cause a new libertarian explosion and we will inevitably end up with much more lax and young gouvernments...... Yes am dreaming.

As a hungarian... (5, Interesting)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732316)

...I'd say the new media law is deeply disturbing and it's certainly a step away from democracy, however comparing Hungary to Russia, Belarus or Venezuela does a disservice to describe the state of opression in those countries.

There is one thing that the election in 2010 taught me: if someone campaigns on vague promises and commits to nothing, then assume the worst of intentions and do not, under any circumstances give the party seeking a large majority a carte blanche.

It's a weird feeling to see a /. article about Hungary, I don't think that happened many times before. It is warranted as Hungary now holds the rotating EU presidency for the next 6 months and also this has been the worst degradation of democratic freedoms in the country since the fall of the communist run dictatorship that ended in 1990.

Overall, I think this media law and the government itself will fall, on the medium term (~4 years). This new law and the governing party is already a subject of widespread mockery and nothing corrodes support for a party more than being subject of ridicule. Hungary regained press freedom not long enough ago to have forgotten how precious it is. The governemnt doesn't understand the internet or the state of media.

Re:As a hungarian... (3, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732376)

>>>There is one thing that the election in 2010 taught me: if someone campaigns on vague promises and commits to nothing

Sounds familiar. (cough) US 2008. Hopefully the European Union courts will come to the rescue and enforce the constitutional rights enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty. Ex-post facto laws are supposed to be unconstitutional, and ditto suppression of speech, press, and expression.

Re:As a hungarian... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34732496)

>>>There is one thing that the election in 2010 taught me: if someone campaigns on vague promises and commits to nothing

Sounds familiar. (cough) US 2008. Hopefully the European Union courts will come to the rescue and enforce the constitutional rights enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty. Ex-post facto laws are supposed to be unconstitutional, and ditto suppression of speech, press, and expression.

Try US 2008, 2004, 2000, 1996, 1992, 1988... etc.

Re:As a hungarian... (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 3 years ago | (#34733104)

Ex-post facto laws are supposed to be unconstitutional, and ditto suppression of speech, press, and expression.

The governing party has 2/3 majority. They make the constitution.

Re:As a hungarian... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732398)

Allow me a guess (despite being close to Hungary, I have no idea how the campaign went, I was only horrified by the result): They made a lot of wild promises, painted the liberals as pansies and the socialists as communists, belittle everything the previous government achieved and had, at least in hindsight, always known what a huge problem their decisions would cause?

And now they have achieved nothing themselves, are devoid of any ideas how to improve the situation of the country, can't even come close to fulfilling ONE promise they made (even as vague as they were) and their voters are generally disillusioned?

Re:As a hungarian... (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732806)

They made a lot of wild promises, painted the liberals as pansies and the socialists as communists

No, the socialists called FIDESZ communist because it was against the privatization of the healthcare system (we have a one-payer system at the moment), and against tuition fees in higher education in state universities.
And I think that was the reason FIDESZ won. The socialist party turned to libertarian in the autumn of 2006, after they won the elections in spring, which they won by similar blanket campaign promises*. That was the reason of all the rioting (Speech of Öszöd [wikipedia.org] ).

* to be more precise, they explicitely promised to not to do the things, that they started to implement next year, in the televised argument between the candidates

Re:As a hungarian... (1)

Intrinsic (74189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34733038)

I dont know why, but "The Revolution will not be televised" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Id--ZFtjR5c [youtube.com] comes to mind when I hear about this. I know nothing of Hungary, but everywhere I look I see Rich populations rising to power so they can take away basic freedoms from the people. In the U.S Privatization has killed our health care system where the rich stay healthy and the sick get sicker. It seems like in so many countries do not serve its people, but instead serves selfish interests.

Re:As a hungarian... (4, Insightful)

ThunderBird89 (1293256) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732540)

Being another Hungarian, I am sort of two minds regarding this act.

On the one hand, it is certainly a step away from democracy, and a rather large one at that. The government, already piling mistake upon mistake, could not have chosen a worse time to pass this act: the first day of our European Union presidency will go down in memory as 'The day censorship was reinstated', even after Angela Merkel voiced concerns that Hungary might not be ready for the presidency after passing such laws.

On the other hand, the law seems to be at least partially unenforceable: granted, the Media Authority has the power to "order the suspension of broadcasting", but given that while the government does own the airwaves, it does not, by definition, own the internet. Thus, this power cannot be exercised, even though failure to comply may result in the a de facto ban as the broadcaster is stricken from the national registry (but will probably be able to continue its activities online).
Not to mention that jurisdiction on the internet seems to be a gray area even today. There exist no codified laws or practices on where a lawsuit may be brought against online entities: in the jurisdiction where the server resides, where the entity is headquartered, or where the offender or offended is?

On the gripping hand, however, this is hardly a relief for those news outlets that still depend on printed press, which, to my knowledge, include all media organs with the exception of two larger online news portals.
Also of note is the fact that fines may be appealed, as is customary ... after they were paid. This will likely encourage self-censorship, as it will be significantly easier to comply with the regulations than to pay the fine, then go through legal trouble to potentially lose the lawsuit.

While these measures are certainly harsh, I am glad that we are not yet anywhere near the level of China or Iran. Although, with our drunk-on-power prime minister and his loyal-to-a-fault followers, that may yet come to pass in the new constitution to be approved this year.

A disclaimer regarding any judicial inaccuracies: I am not a lawyer, and have only taken introductory law courses during my studies.

Re:As a hungarian... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34732652)

"Overall, I think this media law and the government itself will fall, on the medium term (~4 years). This new law and the governing party is already a subject of widespread mockery and nothing corrodes support for a party more than being subject of ridicule."

You could be right. On the other hand, what else will the government try to do before then?

You're right that comparing the current situation in Hungary to that in Venezuela or Russia is an exaggeration, but where was Venezuela at ~5 years ago? Look at where it is now. Ostensibly, all that change for the worse has occurred by democratic means, slowly but surely taking small steps towards dictatorship. Russia isn't much better. Apparently that's what the people want.

Here's hoping the people in Hungary act before things get worse.

Also: aim for a minority government. That seems to keep the politicians in power somewhat more constrained.

Re:As a hungarian... (1, Interesting)

rennerik (1256370) | more than 3 years ago | (#34733566)

Also as a Hungarian, while the laws controlling media and empowering censorship *are* rather disturbing (as is their recent ruling against gay marriage and other "moral depravity"), the nationalization of pensions and the overhaul of the tax system was a necessary evil.

There was so much corruption in the government over the past several decades. Big corporations were funneling money from pensions into private interests and out-of-country. They had their representatives create loopholes in the tax system to prevent paying taxes, where the private citizen had to pay even more. Hungary's national debt became huge because of this. The legal system is also not without its problems.

Sometimes I believe you need drastic solutions to such deep-seated corruption. That being said, however, I do think that such a concentration of power is *very* dangerous, and sets a bad precedent. This new media law is definitely a sign that something is amiss.

Say what you will about the U.S., but people more or less respect the rule of law. A case may be controversial, and the result may be unappealing, but ultimately all parties understand that without order and due process, there is no government. No matter how corrupt elements of the government are, they still have to answer, ultimately, to the people (whenever that would see the light of day). In Hungary, it's a bit different. People can get away with a lot of things, and I've seen the level of corruption that exists with my own eyes. None of that would fly here in the States.

So is the government taking so much power the right thing to do? I don't know. I'm sure you can argue that, because of this corruption, it's precisely the *worst* decision you could make (give the government more power), but short of an actual revolution by a populace, how else do you clean up your own governing institutions? The only way you can, is elect people to make sweeping changes. But, as they say, power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. I think Orban is heading in the wrong direction. I think he's made efforts to change things, but I also think his intentions are now suspect with laws demanding censorship and other restrictions. I think by doing things like that, one basically rolls back all the good one has done.

We'll see how this plays out. I'm hoping for the best. As a second generation American, I still have very close ties to Hungary (all of my extended family lives there, and I visit often), and I do my best to keep up-to-date on its politics. I don't want my country-of-lineage to have ill repute.

my point of view (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34732348)

I'm a Hungarian. I don't really care for politics, I didn't vote, and I only read about these kind of things on news sites. I'm not on the left, right, my philosophy is live and let live.
This new law is just another item on an already lengthy list of reasons to get a job and settle down in a (hopefully) slightly more civilised western country.
I'm not trying to compare our situation to the Nazi Germany, but we are heading down a path that doesn't seem too bright. Fascists, nationalists, extremists call themselves politicians, spread hate under the guise of free speech, and people cheer them for doing so. The other party (socialists) stole money, but didn't try to establish a dictatorship. And I can't believe I actually consider that a good thing now.
At least I didn't vote for any these assholes.

Re:my point of view (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732412)

It doesn't cease to amaze me how it's a horrendous crime to embezzle money but it's all right to eliminate freedom. Don't worry, you're in good company. Or bad company, depends on how you want to see it.

I can live with politicians that line their pockets. We came to get used to it, and it's not like I'd expect the current leaders of Hungary to abstain from it. But when only facing the choice between politicians that steal my money, and politicians that steal my money and eliminate my liberty, I guess the choice is... well, the lesser evil.

Re:my point of view (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732446)

We have a very similar phenomenon in the US: With the exception of a few genuine, self-consistent libertarians(who are usually kept safely away from any of the levers and buttons that actually do stuff) Our politics are absolutely infested with people who think that a 3% delta in the tax rate on a given income bracket is the difference between freedom and slavery; but consider the executive branch's claim of the right to abduct and torture whoever they want to be irrelevant to national freedom metrics.

As good old Machiavelli, titan of the realist school of politics, remarked "A man will sooner forgive the loss of his father than the loss of his patrimony"...

Re:my point of view (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732832)

...and the reason they stole your liberty was?

All politicians are crooks and thieves. You should rail against their power at every opportunity. Unfortunately no country on earth has the constitution required to implement true freedom. It will take another revolution is some major country for it to happen and that seems relatively unlikely given the control politicians have over the media today. They use psychology and mass media to steer the uneducated masses towards the choices they pick for us. Even the most intelligent of us can easily fall for a well played political maneuver.

Re:my point of view (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 3 years ago | (#34733096)

money enables freedom or can be used to take away freedom. Politicians that line their pockets typically do so to take away your freedoms.

Re:my point of view (3, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34733398)

They get away with it because few people care. Especially since the law is supposed to uphold decency in the media. A lot of people actually think that's a good thing... until it's their point of view that gets censored.

These laws are all over the place, and they generally start small. In the Netherlands, there already is a law for websites with child pornography (what else? *rolls eyes*), which can be ordered shut down and/or blocked without intervention of a judge. There have been recent proposals to extend this law to cover sites with hatred-inciting or discriminatory content, or stuff that threatens public order. In other words, covering "anything we don't like". The proposal was shot down, thankfully. But even the mere the fact that this motion was tabled at all is a shameful, shameful blot on our institution of government.

But this is by no means a new thing. Searches and wiretaps for instance, used to require a judge's go-ahead, but that was done away a few decades ago with "for convenience". No one cared. The prosecutor's office can now order searches, and wiretaps can be requested by pretty much anyone involved in police investigations, to the point where there are now more wiretaps being conducted in the Netherlands than in the rest of Europe combined. And as for searches, even city mayors now have the power to order these, for crying out loud. They can (and have one so on several occasions) order searches on no suspicion whatsoever, and/or do a door to door search of an entire neighborhood. The pretext is just fire safety, but they will enter homes with a whole team of officials checking for varied things like stolen goods, firearms, marihuana plantations, false social benefits claims, electricity theft, illegal subletting, and so on. And for those who think these are not real, official searches... if you're not at home and it's the 3rd time they've found you absent, they will open your front door with the "municipal key" (i.e. a crowbar), and fail to compensate you for the broken lock even if they find nothing.

That is the state of our country... sounds a bit like East Germany, but nobody gives a shit. So, am I worried about freedom of our media? Well yes... if they can get away with the above, then who will raise a hue and cry over something as "reasonable" as media censorship?

Re:my point of view (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34732728)

"At least I didn't vote for any these assholes."

That's a weak consolation you may be free to enjoy now, but might not be able to in the future if you don't do something useful rather than sitting back and letting everyone else decide who should be in power. A complacent electorate is *THE* best thing for establishment of a totalitarian regime, because the people craving that kind of power will need to control fewer people in order to pull it off.

Good luck anyway, but your apathetic attitude doesn't bode well for the future of Hungary either, if it is a common one.

Re:my point of view (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#34733498)

I think you may be rushing things a little bit. If those jerks, after all these proto-fascist laws that they have enacted, get re-elected for another term - then your concerns are warranted and you would probably do good to seek a different country with more liberally minded people. But if they get kicked out right and proper, then that's democracy at work, and you staying and voting would help things.

Re:my point of view (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 3 years ago | (#34733708)

At least I didn't vote for any these assholes.

Oh? But you started with:

I don't really care for politics, I didn't vote,

When you're not against it you're for it!

This should be a warning (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732368)

It should be a warning for all those that follow right-populist parties and their diffuse "promises". More work, fewer immigrants, less crime, eliminating abuse of social services... sounds familiar?

Also familiar that they do not tell you just how they want to do it?

When facing a politician and his promises, why (usually the single important question) is not really going to give you insight whether the emperor has pants. How is the question you should ask. If he has no answer, write the windbag off.

Re:This should be a warning (1)

whitehaint (1883260) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732402)

Right vs left, no difference other than an opposite stance on various issues it's all really generic. Any politician that has enough crap together to have a real plan(good or bad) will soon come to realize the only way to carry it out would be a dictatorship and either go for it or forget about it. I sure wish Hungarians the best though.

Re:This should be a warning (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732838)

This isn't so much a "left vs. right" issue, but more of an issue with populist movements on either side of the spectrum. Whether it's that vile bastard Chavez in Venezuela or this guy, it's the same thing, inherently anti-democratic policies delivered to authoritarians by sufficiently uncritical and intellectually deficient populaces. An excellent way to gain considerable amounts of power is to pander to prejudices. Look at all the people willingly showing their penises and breasts to airport security despite every indication that full body scans are quite bypassable by those looking to sneak nasty things on airplanes. By and large, most human beings are ignorant, stupid, cowardly fuckwads. Every once in a while you will get a generation that puts its foot down, and maybe guarantee the populace a few generations of liberty, but eventually the lowest common denominator always sells it all.

Re:This should be a warning (2)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732440)

It should be a warning for all those that follow right-populist parties and their diffuse "promises". More work, fewer immigrants, less crime, eliminating abuse of social services... sounds familiar?

That sounds a lot like the left-wing parties in the UK in the 1970s. With the possible exception of the last part.

The BNP in the UK, for example, are repeatedly called 'far-right' by the left-wing media, but as far as I've seen their policies are basically those of the left-wing Labour party of the 70s with a bit more explicit racism on top.

Re:This should be a warning (4, Informative)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732834)

In Hungary left and right wing means completely the opposite than in the US. It was actually the socialist party which promotes the small government, free trade agenda.

Re:This should be a warning (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732944)

More work, fewer immigrants, less crime, eliminating abuse of social services.

On the immigration issue: there aren't many immigrants in Hungary, as the wages are rather low; they usually tend to drift to western countries, after all, it's quite easy to move once you crossed the Schengen borders.
In 2004 however there's was a vote about wether to give back the Hungarian citizenship to the people who were stripped of it after WW1 due to the Trianon treaty, and the socialsts were the ones opposing it. (They thought FIDESZ is more popular among the Hungarians living abroad.)

Hurrah! (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732426)

Strength through purity. Purity through faith!

Re:Hurrah! (1)

ThunderBird89 (1293256) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732684)

If shit hits the ceiling fan, I'm gonna be seeking out V and helping him throttle our PM. Lacking a V, I'll get one of those masks from Anonymous, as much as I despise them...

Sounds like the U.S. (1)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732434)

"he has implemented retroactive taxes in violation of the constitution, curbed the Constitutional Court's power, effectively nationalized private pension funds and put ruling-party allies in charge of at least four independent institutions..."

Re:Sounds like the U.S. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34732636)

I assume you mean that it sounds like pundits in the US... nobody is actually doing any of those things here in any meaningful way.

Evil times make evil people? (1)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732502)

It's easy for people to be nice and polite and generous in times of peace and plenty, but during these evil times we're living in, it seems you find out what people are really like.

Just pull the plug. (1)

toboldh (1693904) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732520)

Media must present a balanced view and uphold public morality? May as well just pull the plug on the whole internet.

Re:Just pull the plug. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34732754)

The internet does cover most views. Perhaps there is no public morality....

Re:Just pull the plug. (1)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 3 years ago | (#34733360)

Given that one of the best and most appreciated exports of Hungary are adult movie actresses , they should dare to denounce the lie "public morality" is. There is no "public morality", there is a set of restrictive non-laws imposed upon the people by a few self-appointed "moral guardians" who should be dragged into the streets, tarred and feathered, and fed to rabid rats on crack.

good, "mood pictures" comes to mind... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34732526)

"Mood Pictures" is in Hungary and takes democratic speech a few strokes too far. Good for hungary if they realize you can't open up the "freedoms" without a moral base in society like they have in USA. Putin did that for Russia; in the 1990's freedom meant hardcore porn on primetime TV...

1984? Honestly... (2)

Brafil (1933028) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732614)

What happened to the world? Didn't every country in the "Western World" praise democracy and freedom of speech as the ultimate goal of the government until now? And now these idiots collectively decided that these can't give them enough power and changed their minds. China has long been famous for being a police state, but now the US of A have started moving - no, racing - in that direction. PATRIOT Act? TSA? WikiLeaks?

I wonder that the majority of the world has let them act like this until now. I honestly expected people would see their mistakes when WikiLeaks started publishing all those documents, but the ones in power have proven to be capable of preventing that. I don't know how this will go on, but I'm pretty sure some people will be really screwed in the end. I hope it's not us.

I'm pretty sure in the next few years or decades, things are going to change very quickly. History is repeating itself for the nth time. How long will that continue?

Re:1984? Honestly... (1)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732748)

The goal of anyone who is in power is to get MORE power. "Democracy" and "freedom" are buzzwords used as bait to catch votes, but now "security" and "OMG teh CHILDREN" have proven to be more effective. They want more power and they will get it. If they could put their arms up our asses and move us about like sock puppets they would do it in a millisecond. This will go on to the bitter end unless they're countered by force. It will mean losing a LOT of our creature comforts because the only way to undermine their power is to destroy a large part of the industrial complex that supports them. I think it's worth it.

Re:1984? Honestly... (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#34733032)

I'm pretty sure in the next few years or decades, things are going to change very quickly. History is repeating itself for the nth time. How long will that continue?

Until humans are genetically engineered to not be envious, prideful, and greedy.

It probably would help a whole lot if we could genetically identify sociopathy, and preemptively eliminate anyone who has it.
 

Re:1984? Honestly... (1)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 3 years ago | (#34733324)

It doesn't take genetic engineering to solve this, just some good old-fashioned bloodletting by axe now and then. Nothing says "we're fed up with you" better than some dozen decapitated heads set ablaze and thrown over the walls with trebuchets made of human bones.

Why the EU May Be Crumbling (1)

rekees (1420453) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732712)

This is the backlash of eternal growth promise that we cannot fulfill any longer.

They built row houses in Hungary, and they sit empty. The same happened in Ireland. But where did they learn to throw money away on bogus promises? Remember the Dust Bowl land rush? There were fake pictures advertised in England about a hundred years ago showing a Texas Panhandle paradise with artesian fountains in lush cities; as a result, folks flooded a desert that couldn't sustain them. A couple of folks were convicted of con artistry or something like that, but no one noticed.

And no one learned the lesson, in the least the brilliant minds of the Chicago school of Economics. "We shall will the Colorado plateau sand into arable land; we shall will the soggy Irish skies into a tropical island; we shall will the Hungarian puszta to look like the Tetons." Yeap, we invented it and still sell it, so don't bother explain why people backlash and seek safety away from our superb lifestyle.

Pattern detect ? (3, Interesting)

jace_d (1955838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732744)

if I may ask, in which other countries has there recently been proposed a new law for media censorship or something similar and in which countries is some sort of media censorship already being practiced ? i know that In south africa there was a proposed bill very recently.

Re:Pattern detect ? (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732996)

When discussing the media law here in Hungary there was mentioned that the Britain has the Ofcom, which is similar to the Hungarian media authority, and it has ties to the British government as well, since its members are elected by the secretary of state.

Re:Pattern detect ? (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34733712)

Ofcom doesn't have any control over what the media can or can't say, else most of the press would be in deep trouble.

Re:Pattern detect ? (1)

toriver (11308) | more than 3 years ago | (#34733518)

Italy for instance, where "il Berluscono grande" tries to morph the laws to shield himself and his party as much as possible. Especially to suppress the videos of him happily singing Musolini-era songs at neo-fascist rallies...

A matter of attitude... (1)

nkrisztian89 (1968858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34732934)

Our first Hungarian republic was crushed after several months, the second one lasted for almost four years, this third one endured a bit more than two decades. I clearly see a positive trend here.

Caution: Unpopular Opinion (1)

gowen (141411) | more than 3 years ago | (#34733058)

Seriously folks, no-one is looking at the free US Media and saying "That is the model to which we should all aspire". Would I rather have a democratic government or Rupert Murdoch controlling the media - well, I'd rather have neither - but at least I can vote out a democratic government.

Fox News or The BBC - no fucking contest....

Remember this... (1)

Schnoogs (1087081) | more than 3 years ago | (#34733312)

the next time some pseudo-intellectual libtard talks about how great Europe is while sipping on a Starbucks coffee paid for with unemployment money...in between clichéd comments he/she will take the time to check for messages on their iPhone and to fantasize about owning the Prius parked out front.

Bye Bye Gizmodo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34733666)

There goes Gizmodo and the rest of Gawker Media. They're set-up as a whole bunch of Hungarian companies, wrapped up in a Cayman Islands tax dodge.

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