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"The respect of media freedom and pluralism as common values of democratic societies is especially critical before elections that are to take place soon in Hungary," Kroes said.
Enforcing these new rules was a new watchdog, the Media Council. Its composition is decided by parliament. Because Orban's Fidesz party has a two thirds majority in parliament, the council is made up exclusively of Fidesz appointees.
According to the accounts of dozens of media insiders interviewed by Reuters, Orban's Fidesz party has extended its influence across the state financed media. Current and former journalists say Orban's press chief determines what issues will Roshe Shoes For Men Blue be raised in interviews with the prime minister. They say executives have created a culture that discourages tough questioning and employees who dissent are moved aside.
At the end of the interview, after Orban had evaluated Hungary's six month presidency of the European Union, which was about to end, the anchor rejoined: "It may then be joyful for every Hungarian that his country's prestige is growing in the world?"
Requests for an interview with the show's anchor were referred to a spokeswoman, who did not reply to detailed questions from Reuters. Top executives at the station also declined to answer questions.
By Marton Dunai
In his June 21 radio interview, Orban spoke about a cut in public debt, financed in part by a nationalisation of private pension fund assets that had alarmed markets and investors. The interview took an unusual course at no point did the show's anchor challenge the prime minister's answers or pose any questions about the risks arising from the nationalisation, a transcript posted on Orban's website shows.
BUDAPEST, Feb 19 (Reuters) On June 21, 2011 Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban made a first appearance in what would become a regular slot on MR1 radio's news show.
In another change, all state media and news production was bundled together in one organisation MTVA whose leader is the leader of the Media Council.
Reuters also sent questions to senior executives at the organisation that groups together Hungary's state financed media, MTVA. They declined to comment. An MTVA spokeswoman said there was no link between the government and the editing process at MTVA media outlets.
Press chief Bertalan Havasi usually proposes a list of subjects in an email on Wednesday, the sources said. In the next 24 hours, he hashes out with the editors what subjects to cover on Friday and what to skip.
"relevance to the citizens of Hungary" and "respect human dignity". It also weakened protection of journalists' sources. Penalties for breaking the rules included fines, suspension, or being shut down.
Soon after Orban's Fidesz party came to power in 2010, the Fidesz dominated parliament adopted new media legislation. Changes included a requirement that all media register with the state and that their output should be "balanced", of Roshe Run Oreo Blue
Soon after the June 21 appearance, Orban's press team requested that the radio interview become a regular event, several people familiar with the matter said. Orban now appears on the show every other Friday.
guest. They tore up the schedule and rewrote it to accommodate the prime minister.
"When the Prime Minister gives interviews, to which media outlets is always a matter of individual consideration. Placing the interview, setting its subject and its questions are up to the media organisations conducting the interview," Kumin said.
Orban's government different, say campaigners for press freedom, is that Orban's Fidesz party has used its majority in parliament to push through rules that weaken state financed media as an independent institution in a way that has not happened before. The campaigners say that Orban's government has put in place a system that stifles the ability of journalists to hold his government to account.
The deference with which state media treat Orban is not without precedent. Ferenc Gyurcsany, the Socialist prime minister from 2004 until 2009, also gave regular radio interviews in which he fielded gentle questions. Gyurcsany told Reuters it was customary for programme makers to give his aides advance notice of the topics that would be covered. But Gyurcsany added: "It would never come to my mind to dictate what to be asked or to put pressure in any way on public media and on how they prepare for these interviews."
Orban's appearances have settled into a routine, according to journalists who have worked on the MR1 news show. All topics to be covered are agreed in advance, and the prime minister is never surprised with tough questions, they say.
Several employees at MR1 say they were putting together the next morning's news programme when, to their surprise, they heard an on air announcement that Orban would be their Nike Roshe Run Men Grey
They did not know it at the time, but a new relationship was unfolding between the government and the media, which under EU law must be independent of political influence.
Havasi, in reply to questions from Reuters, said his office has always acted in accordance with the press freedom clauses in the constitution.
Responding to Reuters questions about the government's interaction with state financed radio, government spokesman Ferenc Kumin said: "Public media is independent of the government."
"We just gave (Orban) air time to speak his mind," the show's production manager at the time, Fruzsina Molnar, told Reuters in an interview for this article. Molnar no longer works at the station.
Hungary votes in a parliamentary election on April 6. Interviews with former and current state media employees suggest it is those around the prime minister who have sought to shape how the government is portrayed, aided by a culture of self censorship in the media and a regulatory framework that has eroded media independence.
Hungary's government denies exerting pressure on the media and says it meets EU standards on media freedom.
How Hungary's government shaped public media to its mould
In response to questions from Reuters, European Commissioner Neelie Kroes said she considered it "a shame", however, that Hungary had not fully implemented EU recommendations to ensure media independence. Hungary, for instance, rejected an EU recommendation to change the way it appointed members of a new media watchdog to ensure the body was free from political interference.
The appearance in itself was nothing extraordinary, but the manner in which it came about and the way it was conducted point to a relationship between Hungary's government and its state financed media that the European Union has censured as too close, a charge Hungary denies.
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