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August 12, 2022

European MPs rap Orban for media law

STRASBOURG – Hungary’s rightwing Prime Minister Viktor Orbán gave, and received, no quarter when confronting European parliament critics this week over his government’s controversial media law. One MEP called Orbán a “European Chávez”, a reference to Venezuela’s demagogue president. Orbán replied that accusations of dictatorial behaviour were a “slap in the face” for Hun­ga­rian voters who elected him in a landslide vote last April, The Guardian reports. But behind the Strasbourg knockabout lay some serious questions for Hungary and the EU, which it joined in 2004. Opponents describe the media law as a political gag that will destroy press freedom in Hungary – part of an alarming platform of populist “reforms”, go-it-alone economic policies and constitutional changes that threatens democracy and individual liberties. Orbán denies the charges. But, if true, what should the EU do? What recourse does Brussels have when an EU member goes “rogue”?

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