The opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) led by Ferenc Gyurcsány has lost seven lawsuits against Hungarian public media, MTVA’s press and marketing office said in a statement on Thursday. DK launched the suits in connection with the way the Hungarian news agency MTI handled press releases. MTVA’s statement said that DK attempted to put pressure on MTI in a way that recalled “the times of the party-state”.
The Kúria (supreme court) confirmed that MTI’s national press release service (OS) had the right to refuse to publish any statement that may breach the privacy rights of an individual, and that MTI was entitled to editorial freedom, the statement added. Also, MTI has the right to refuse to publish DK statements, the court ruled, reasoning that provisions of the Act on Media Services and Mass Communication related to the national news agency did not guarantee anyone carte-blanche to demand publication of a specific statement via its OS service.
MTVA’s statement noted that the left-wing party had already brought the matter before the court on six occasions, and the courts, including the Kúria, had recognised MTI’s right to assess the relative merits of each individual statement submitted for publication. DK must pay the full legal costs to the defendant, Duna Médiaszolgáltató Nonprofit Zrt.