Top Hungary court backs clampdown on internet comments

May 28, 2014
A boy uses on a computer in Csobanka, Hungary, on February 23, 2011

A top Hungarian court ruled Wednesday that website operators are responsible for abusive internet comments made on pages under their control, even if the questionable statements are moderated or removed on request.

The EU member's constitutional court rejected a complaint by the Association of Hungarian Content Providers (MTE)— whose members include popular online news sites—against an earlier .

The supreme court had said some "below-the-line" about a real estate company advertising on an MTE webpage were "humiliating" and "crossed the boundaries of free speech".

On Wednesday, the constitutional upheld the ruling that operators should be responsible for comments on their websites, even if they are moderated or removed immediately on request.

"The internet is not a lawless space, responsibility must be taken," it said in a statement.

The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (TASZ) however said the ruling meant "unconditional responsibility" for .

That will make it risky to allow any commentary at all on websites, TASZ said, adding that it would restrict political debate, and have a "chilling effect" on freedom of speech.

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not rated yet May 29, 2014
probably companies will change their business HQ and hosting providers to other countries. I don't see how accountability could be implemented if the site is owned by a Cyprus company with web hosting in Montana, US, for example, even if Hungarian citizens comment on them and even it is clear that the site is dedicated to Hungary (for example a online shopping portal, or a media portal).

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