EU slams Hungary's new advertising tax

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Hungary’s government came under fire from the EU once again on Monday after the European Commission criticised a new tax on advertising revenue.

It will affect both Hungarian and foreign-owned non-state media outlets.

Commercial broadcaster RTL Hungary is expected to be hit hardest.

The channel is owned by German media giant Bertelsmann.

It says the government wants to “undermine the biggest media company in the country” with the new tax.

Neelie Kroes, the EU commissioner for digital policy, said it was an attempt “to silence dynamic debate”.

“The fact is, government control, monopoly and censorship belong to a different, darker, period in Hungary’s history: and no one should seek a return to it,” Kroes wrote in an op-ed piece published on her website.

“Fair and unbiased coverage is a principal function of a free and pluralistic media. Undermining that, and attempting to silence dynamic debate, is an attack on Hungarian democracy.

“For the sake of that democracy, and of the Hungarian people who have fought so hard to enjoy its benefits, we cannot stand by as idle spectators.”

Just last month, several hundred protesters rallied outside parliament against the plan.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban says the tax will raise more than 32 million euros a year.

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