Powers of the NMHH regarding media content published during the campaign period of parliamentary elections

Last updated: 28 January 2022

8 April 2018 has been appointed by Hungary’s President of the Republic for the election of Members of Parliament in 2018. The election campaign period lasts from 17 February 2018 until 7.00 p.m., 8 April 2018. As in other periods, during the campaign period of the parliamentary elections, the powers of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) do not extend beyond the supervision of Act CLXXXV of 2010 on Media Services and Mass Communication (“Media Act”); in addition to administrative proceedings, the NMHH is only responsible for providing general information on legislative requirements.

On the basis of Section 151(1) of Act XXXVI of 2013 on the Election Procedure (“Election Procedure Act”) any complaints related to the participation of media service providers, the media and cinemas in the election campaign (i.e. the breaching of the provisions of the Election Procedure Act) shall be assessed by the National Election Commission. Any complaints related to regional, local and on‑demand media services or regional publications shall be assessed by the election commission of the single-member constituency for parliamentary elections having competence over the registered address or domicile of the media content provider in elections of Members of Parliament and of Members of the European Parliament, and shall be assessed by the territorial election commission having competence over the registered address or domicile of the media content provider in elections of local councillors and mayors and in elections of representatives of national minority self-governments.

The supervisory powers of the NMHH and its competence to proceed are limited to infringements by way of media content published as political advertisements, i.e. any breach of the requirements set out by the Media Act in connection with political advertising. In other words, the administrative powers of the NMHH do not extend to the review of breaches of the provisions of the Election Procedure Act concerning political advertising.

On the basis of the applicable principles of constitutional law and the general rules of administrative procedures, the NMHH may only apply and interpret the applicable legislative provisions in specific administrative cases or procedures instituted on the basis of the Media Act or Act CL of 2016 on General Public Administration Procedures (“GPAP Act”), in the framework of facts established by a detailed scrutiny of the circumstances of the case, which it may only put forward by way of an administrative decision.

Based on the standing case-law of the Constitutional Court, including in particular Ruling No 60/1992 (XI. 17.) of the CC, and the constitutional principle of being subject to the GPAP Act, in respect of legal issues arising outside of the legal relationship entailed by the administrative procedure, within its administrative competence the NMHH shall not be entitled to adopt a definitive resolution containing legal interpretations or affecting, in any manner, the substance of future administrative proceedings as, by doing so it would circumvent the provisions, guarantees and remedy procedures defined by the GPAP Act.

In the meaning of the grounds of Ruling No 60/1992 (XI. 17.) of the Constitutional Court, this information, published by the Authority in a non-administrative procedure, shall not be considered as a legal provision or as any other legal instrument and shall have no normative nature, legal force or binding provisions whatsoever.