World War I Sources of Press Law: Press Law in the Shadow of Emergency Powers

Published: 7 December 2017

Publication no. 28 in the Media Science Library series of the Institute for Media Studies has been issued under the title ‘World War I Sources of Press Law: Press Law in the Shadow of Emergency Powers’ and was edited by Roland Kelemen.

By the middle of the first decade of the 20th century, there was genuine appetite in Hungary to legislate for a comprehensive system of delegation. Earlier sporadic rules had been prone to abuse, which was especially prevalent during the Fejérváry Government; the Court in Vienna also expected such legislation to be adopted. Following a prolonged gestation period, the law was passed in 1912 (Act LXIII of 1912 on Emergency Measures in the Event of War) and, similarly to all other similar laws, it had as its cornerstones certain provisions limiting fundamental rights.

Barely one and a half year after it was enacted, the Emergency Powers Act became necessary, as the processes germinating in the early 19th century inexorably led to the cataclysm that was the first world war.

The powers granted by the Act covered press law as well as press freedom so that existing liberal press legislation was overridden by wartime laws, specifically the press act adopted in the year the war broke out.

Besides the press laws adopted during World War One on the basis of emergency powers, this volume also prints the speeches delivered in the House of Representatives about the constraining of press freedom as well as meeting minutes of Council of Ministers.

Two essays introduce the book (Ádám Farkas, ‘The Specificity and Importance of Defence Interests in the Hungary of the Dual Monarchy, with Special Attention to Wartime Legislation’ /A védelmi érdekek sajátossága és jelentősége a dualista Magyarországon, különös tekintettel a háborús jogalkotásra/; Roland Kelemen, ‘Press Laws and Press Freedom: Emergency Power Legislation in World War One’/Sajtójog és sajtószabadság: az első világháborús kivételes hatalmi szabályozás/) guide Readers through the historical and political events and legal processes of the period as well as the possible conclusions drawn from them, and also help interpret the sources published in this volume.