Jobbik turns to Constitutional Court

The President of the Constitutional Court should apply a priority treatment or an accelerated procedure in the review of the outdoor media act, Jobbik suggests in its motion to the head of the court. In his press conference on Monday, Jobbik MP Gábor Staudt explained the party’s petition. They claim that the outdoor media act, adopted by the pro-government majority in the summer, is unconstitutional and blocks the opposition from expressing its political opinions. The party also says that if the Constitutional Court fails to arbitrate the opposition’s motion within a reasonable time, the legitimacy of the 2018 elections and the rule of law in Hungary would be fundamentally questioned.

Mr Staudt told the media that he had not seen any examples of Constitutional Court Presidents to accelerate procedures like this before. He added however, that the matter was so important that the court should make a decision as soon as possible.

As it was reported earlier, the so-called outdoor media war broke out after Jobbik and some citizens launched an outdoor advertisement campaign criticizing the government. In response, pro-government MPs adopted a regulation with a simple majority (lacking the number of mandates for the necessary qualified majority) in Parliament. The new legislation obliges political parties to buy advertising space at list price: they are no longer allowed to get discounted package deals from outdoor media companies. Besides, all such transactions must be reported to the geographically competent government agency. If the contracts are not submitted to the agency, it has the right to remove the ads from the street. The next step was that the government started using public administration officials and the police to remove ads criticizing the government.

Getting no legal aid from President of the Republic János Áder, the opposition eventually turned to the Constitutional Court. In the meantime, Jobbik bought 1100 billboards to place its ads on. Since these outlets were fully owned by the party, the new legislation was not supposed to apply to them. However, the political ads were removed even from the party’s own billboards. Jobbik announced that it would challenge in court the government agency decisions ordering the party’s posters to be removed.


Magyar Nemzet -