Hungary PM hits back at France, Germany on media law

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Hungarian Premier Viktor Orban on Thursday hit back at France and Germany for attacking his country's disputed media law Thursday which critics charge curbs press freedom.

"I consider it too hasty and unnecessary the way the French and German governments have reacted in this debate," Orban told foreign journalists as Hungary officially takes over the six-month presidency of the European Union.

He said he was "happy to see" that according to him Germany was going back on its initial critical comments from December.

"And I expect the French to do the same," he added

"The EU should decide (whether the Hungarian law complies with EU regulations)... it's not up to the French or the Germans," Orban added.

"I don't remember Hungary criticising the French media law," he noted.

Unlike Hungary, France has a law whereby the president can name the head of the national public television, "and I never said that it was an anti-democratic law," he said.

France called earlier this week for Hungary to change its controversial media law, noting it was "incompatible" with EU rules on press freedom, while Germany has also heavily criticised the text.

The media law debate has already tarnished the Hungarian EU presidency, which began on January 1.

© 2011 AFP

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