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Summaries of EU Legislation

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Summaries of EU legislation: direct access to the main summaries page.

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Commission Opinion [COM(97) 2001 final - Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report [COM(98) 700 final - Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report [COM(99) 505 final - Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report [COM(2000) 705 final - Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report [COM(2001) 700 final - SEC(2001) 1748 final - Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report [COM(2002) 700 final - SEC(2002) 1404 final - Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission follow-up Report [COM(2003) 675 final - SEC(2003) 1205 - Not published in the Official Journal].

Treaty of Accession to the European Union [Official Journal L 236 of 23.09.2003]


In its July 1997 Opinion the European Commission considered that, in view of the continuing progress towards legislative alignment, and provided that this was accompanied by the necessary structural adjustment of the industry, Hungary should be able to meet European Community requirements in the audiovisual sector in the next few years.

The November 1998 Report noted that progress had been made in some areas, in particular through the transposal of the Television Without Frontiers Directive, but it also stressed the need to make a special effort to bring national legislation into line with the Community acquis.

The October 1999 Report noted that Hungarian legislation was to a large extent aligned with the acquis. No significant progress had been made in this area since the November 1998 report, however.

The November 2000 Report indicated that little progress had been made in the audiovisual sector in 2000.

In its November 2001 Report, the European Commission showed that no progress had been made in the audiovisual sector, while in the cultural sector preparatory measures had continued with a view to allowing participation in Community activities.

The October 2002 Report emphasised the considerable progress made in the alignment of Hungary's legislation with the acquis in the audiovisual sector.

The November 2003 Report indicates that Hungry partly meets the audiovisual requirements for accession.

The Treaty of Accession was signed on 16 April 2003 and accession took place on 1 May 2004.


In the context of the internal market, the audiovisual acquis is intended to ensure the provision and free movement of audiovisual services within the EU as well as the promotion of the European programme industry. The acquis is contained in the Television Without Frontiers Directive, which is applicable to all broadcasters regardless of mode of transmission (terrestrial, satellite, cable) or whether private or public, and lays down basic rules on transfrontier broadcasting. The main points are:

  • to ensure the free movement of television broadcasts throughout Member States;
  • to promote the production and distribution of European audiovisual products (by laying down a minimum quota of broadcasting time for European products and those by independent producers);
  • to set basic standards for television advertising;
  • to provide for the protection of minors and allow the right of reply.

The European Association Agreement provides for cooperation in the promotion and modernisation of the audiovisual industry, and the harmonisation of regulatory aspects of audiovisual policy.

The Television Without Frontiers Directive is one of the measures to be adopted by the CEECs under Stage I of the White Paper on the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the internal market of the Union (1995).


The legal framework for the audiovisual sector is determined by the 1996 Act on Radio and Television Services. This Act led to the dismantling of the State's information monopoly and established the National Radio and Television Board, which is responsible for working out ratings, supervising the media, monitoring programmes, and controlling services.

In October 1998, Hungary enacted legislation implementing the Council of Europe Convention on Transfrontier Television. It also transposes the Community Television without Frontiers Directive. Efforts must be continued to ensure effective application of the provisions of the Convention, especially as regards satellite broadcasting.

In July 2002 the Hungarian Parliament finally approved the new Media Act. Once this is fully in force, the Commission feels that the audiovisual acquis will essentially have been transposed into Hungarian law. Certain provisions, including on European works, will enter into force from the date of accession. Provisions on discrimination based on nationality will be abrogated at the same time. The rules on exclusive broadcasting rights will enter into force after a certain delay, but before the date of accession.

The Ministry of National Cultural Heritage and the Ministry of Justice are responsible for broadcasting legislation. The National Radio and Television Board is the Hungarian regulatory and monitoring body with monitoring and sanctioning powers. It is an independent legal entity reporting directly to Parliament. With the adoption of the new law, further strengthening of the National Radio and Television Board may be required. The Commission feels that transparency should be further increased, in particular concerning frequency allocation and the distribution of funds. Efforts should also be made to improve reporting capacities on broadcasting activities.

In 2003, the Commission Report emphasises that Hungry still needs to adapt its national provisions in the field of language policy. The Commission considers the administrative capacity needed to implement the audiovisual acquis to be satisfactory.

In the field of culture, Hungary has been participating in the Culture 2000 framework programme since 2001 and is continuing to adapt its structures in order to take part in Community activities.

Last updated: 12.01.2004