Ruling of Hungarian Constitutional Court can further curb freedom of expression, warns OSCE media freedom representative
VIENNA, 29 May 2014 – Imposing unconditional and direct responsibilities on Internet content providers can stifle free debate on issues of public interest in Hungary, warned the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović today.
“The decision of the Constitutional Court to place unconditional responsibility on content providers for all comments posted on their websites by third parties will make it very likely that they will limit or block any possibility of online comments,” said Mijatović. “This ruling can significantly curb free debate in the country.”
On 28 May the Constitutional Court dismissed a complaint filed by the Association of Hungarian Content Providers concerning derogatory comments made on a website managed by the Association. The court said that content providers are responsible for the comments posted on their websites regardless whether they moderate comments or not, and whether they actively remove the harmful content or not.
“International standards and best practices establish the need to hold content providers responsible for comments by third parties only if they were aware of the harmful nature of the comments and refused to remove them,” Mijatović said.
Earlier statements of the Representative on media freedom in Hungary can be found at www.osce.org/fom