freelogoOur objective is to provide English speaking readers interested in Hungary with a well balanced view of political activities in Hungary by featuring contents from various printed and online sources together with our own commentaries. We are convinced that Hungary is built on all sorts of different ideas, thoughts and opinions and, despite of the new Media Law, our aim is to provide an alternative and reliable source of information – contrary to the one-sided press of the government – for those who want to hear the voice of a free Hungary.

Ruling Fidesz pushes through Parliament political billboard bill with simple majority

Hungary's Parliament passed an amendment tightening regulations on political billboard Advertising. It replaces a law on banning political billboard ads outside campaign periods that President János Áder returned to lawmakers for reconsideration. The "amendment on the protection of cityscapes", which only needed a simple majority to pass, was approved with 123 votes for and 68 against.

Accordingly, organisations that receive budgetary support must pay the listed market price for political billboard adverts. Further, contracts on placing such adverts must be submitted to the relevant authority to be published on its website.
The adopted bill's most important regulations are:

  • Organizations and legal persons, including political parties that receive grants from the state budget can only advertise for previous year's list prices, preferential rates can only be achieved through public tendering.
  • Contracts of billboards must be immediately sent by the contracting parties to the affected authorities, who publish it on their websites.
  • Should the parties fail to hand over their contracts, authorities can remove the billboard within two days.
  • Violators can be fined HUF 150,000 (USD 541.95) per billboard.
  • Political billboards with already signed contracts can only be set up until 15 July this year.

The law does not apply to NGOs, so Fidesz's satellite Civil Unity Forum (CÖF) can continue to conduct political billboard campaigns ordered by the government.
Last week the governing Fidesz-KDNP coalition failed to muster the two-thirds parliamentary support for the bill that prohibits political parties, primarily the radical-right Jobbik, from running political billboard campaigns outside of official election campaign periods. Since the bill was incomprehensible shorn of the parts that require two-thirds support, President János Áder sent it back to the National Assembly for amendment. With the death of Christian-Democrat (KDNP) MP György Rubovszky and the absence of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán who is in Brussels, the governing coalition was sure to fail a second time in securing a two-thirds majority. To bypass the two-thirds obligation, Fidesz resourcefully placed the regulations into a modification of the law protecting settlements, which needs only a relative majority.

Although the governing coalition easily passed the bill this time, it is hardly constitutional since modifications affecting parties' finances can only be adopted with a two-thirds majority, according to The bill adopted on Friday undoubtedly affects the areas of party financing and political advertisements. Leader of Fidesz's parliamentary group Lajos Kósa spoke earlier openly about the political nature of the bill, namely that it is aimed to tackle corruption among political parties. Other Fidesz politicians openly spoke about how the bill targets Jobbik.

President Áder will have to choose whether to sign the law into effect or send it to the Constitutional Court for review. Even if Áder signs the law, it can be appealed to the Constitutional Court. However, until the Constitutional Court makes its verdict, the law will stay in effect, hindering Jobbik's and other opposition parties' ability to run billboard campaigns before the campaign period. The radical-right Jobbik and the green liberal Dialogue for Hungary (PM) parties already announced that they will appeal to the Constitutional Court, regardless of what Áder decides.

Fidesz included in the adopted bill some of the Socialist Party's (MSZP) proposed modifications that had already been withdrawn at the insistence of László Botka, MSZP candidate for prime minister, in order to avoid the appearance of collaborating with Fidesz.

At the same time, left-wing daily Népszava wanted to know how many times the government purchased advertising spaces at preferential rates, how much such spaces cost, and exactly what the government advertised. The daily online also wanted to know whether the government asked for a discount, or was offered a preferential price by advertising space owners, and if so, what the justification for the government's request or the owners' offer was.

According to the left-wing daily, the fact that it did not receive answers to its questions leads to the conclusion that neither the Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister nor Fidesz is refuting claims that the government received advertising spaces for free or at a discount.

Meanwhile, leader of Fidesz's parliamentary group Lajos Kósa told pro-government TV2's Mokka morning program that he had compared the public reports of the advertising expenditures of Politics Can Be Different (LMP) and the radical-right Jobbik party, and found that LMP paid much more for an advertising space than Jobbik, implying that businessman and billboard owner Lajos Simicska provided such space for Jobbik at a preferential price.

Last week the governing Fidesz-KDNP coalition failed to muster the two-thirds parliamentary support for a bill that would have prohibited political parties from setting up political billboards outside election campaign periods. The bill was aimed primarily against extremist Jobbik, which has been renting hundreds of billboards from Simicska for its Fidesz-bashing billboard campaign, allegedly at preferential rates.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 June 2017 14:33

Breaking news



Written on 21/12/2017, 21:09 by admin
jerusalemJerusalem, the eternal capital of the state of Israel and the Jewish people, finally got the official recognition which was overdue for decades....
Written on 13/09/2017, 20:13 by admin
guest-post-eu-and-orban-two-good-friendsThe decision of the European Court of Justice, according to which Hungary should accomodate more than one thousand refugees is at the same time appaling...
Written on 06/10/2016, 19:58 by admin
guest-post-the-day-after-the-referendumThe much anticipated referendum about the resettlement of migrants in Hungary was declared invalid, however, those who voted overwhelmingly rejected the...
Written on 23/06/2016, 06:31 by admin
disintegration-or-something-else-gyurcsany-s-solutions-to-the-ills-of-western-democracies  Something has gone wrong. Quietly, but ever more noticeably, more and more people in more and more places are in revolt. In the American...
Written on 06/04/2016, 19:20 by admin
how-germany-and-its-leftist-liberal-supporters-killed-solidaritySolidarity. This is the word that is probably is the most used and misused term in European politics. Its original meaning is supposed to mean to show...
Written on 23/03/2016, 20:30 by admin
the-orban-regime-can-only-end-in-failure  Change in the Orbán regime is only possible in the event of its downfall, so ruling Fidesz either becomes successful with its current set of...
Written on 23/03/2016, 20:20 by admin
anger-or-resignation  No matter how hard Mr Orbán is trying to get rid of his old cronies, he just cannot get rid of himself. He is too old for his system. The...
Written on 14/01/2016, 20:51 by admin
europe-s-new-yearThe European continent had a very difficult year in 2015, but that may be dwarfed by 2016. The most heated issue will be, without a doubt, the migration...
Written on 09/12/2015, 14:16 by admin
the-secret-diaries-of-viktor-orban-nov-dec-2015November 14th 2015I awoke to the shocking news about the Paris attacks last night. Words cannot express my feelings of shock.It turns out that one of the...
Written on 12/11/2015, 14:31 by admin
spies-in-the-newsroom   According to a new scheme, the government might place spies in the newsrooms, to have a better view of what is being written. This all...
Joomla templates by Joomlashine