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European experts call for changes to Hungary's media law, fewer limits on political ads

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BUDAPEST, Hungary — A group of European experts says Hungary's media law needs further reforms, also highlighting the arbitrary distribution of state advertising and calling for fewer limits on political ads.

In a report Monday it noted that recent amendments to media regulations "go in the right direction," but further changes are needed.

The report was released by the Venice Commission, an advisory group to the Council of Europe. It noted the overwhelming dominance of government candidates among media authorities, the favoring of government-friendly media for placing ads by the government or state-owned companies and a constitutional amendment which bans political advertising in private media outlets during electoral campaigns.

Thorbjorn Jagland, secretary general of the Council of Europe, said that "Hungary has made significant progress, but more can be done."

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