a)  Hungary / b)  Constitutional Court / c) / d)  21-04-2012 / e)  21/2012 / f) / g)  Magyar Közlöny (Official Gazette), 2012/48 / h)  CODICES (Hungarian).
Keywords of the systematic thesaurus:
Constitutional Justice - Types of claim - Claim by a public body - Executive bodies.
Constitutional Justice - Jurisdiction - Type of review - Abstract / concrete review.
Fundamental Rights - Civil and political rights - Freedom of the written press.
Keywords of the alphabetical index:
Abstract review / Press, freedom, protection, scope / Media, freedom of the media.
Due to express limits, provided by law, on the scope of the Constitutional Court’s jurisdiction to conduct abstract review of constitutional norms, the Court rejected the petition of the Government requesting abstract interpretation of two free press provisions of the Fundamental Law.
In its Decision no. 165/2011, (see Cross-references below) the Court reviewed several provisions of the Press and Media Act (hereinafter, the "Act"), and declared inter alia, that print media should to an extent be removed from the scope of the Act and held that the institution of the ' Media Commissioner’ constitutes an unnecessary restriction on the freedom of the press.
In both cases the Court set a deadline of 31 May 2012 for the annulment of the relevant provisions. Afterwards, on behalf of the Government, the Minister of Justice asked the Court to give detailed reasons for its decision in light of which the government could submit the related amendments. In his petition, the Minister of Justice asked the Court to provide an interpretation of Article IX.2 of the Fundamental Law, in which the State is enjoined to "recognise and protect the freedom and pluralism of the press, and ensure the conditions for freedom of information necessary for the formation of democratic public opinion", and that part of Article IX.3 of the Fundamental Law which requires that "the detailed rules relating to& press products& shall be laid down in a cardinal act".
According to Section 38.1 of the Act on the Constitutional Court, on the petition of Parliament or its standing committee, the President of the Republic or the Government, the Constitutional Court shall provide an interpretation of the provisions of the Fundamental Law regarding a certain constitutional issue, provided that the interpretation can be directly deduced from the Fundamental Law. Under the previous Act on the Constitutional Court (Act XXXII of 1989) abstract interpretation of the 1989 Constitution was the duty of the Court. The Constitutional Court case law revealed how abstract the question imposed should be. The Court required a close relation between the statement of facts and the relevant constitutional provision, and provided interpretation of the Constitution only for the solution of a "particular constitutional problem". (Decision no. 31/1990) In addition, the Court adjudged petitions related to abstract interpretation only if interpretation of the constitutional problem could be directly derived, without the inclusion of lower ranking legal regulations, from the Constitution. The Court in the instant case held that these guidelines are valid even under the new 2011 Constitution, called the Fundamental Law.
In the current case the Government submitted two questions:
1. Whether the effect of some provisions of the Press and Media Act should be extended to the print media under Article IX.3 of the Fundamental Law; and
2. Whether the institution of the ' Media Commissioner’ can be regulated in the Press and Media Act in harmony with the press freedom guaranteed by Article IX.2 of the Fundamental Law.
The Court held that neither of the two problems could be directly deduced from the Fundamental Law. Concerning the first question the Court stated that "the need to have content regulations with respect to the print media does not follow from interpretingArticle IX.3 of the Fundamental Law". As per the second question the Court stressed that the institution of the ' Media Commissioner’ is not explicitly mentioned in the Fundamental Law.
Concerning the constitutional questions submitted in the current case the Court does have the power to decide on the merits of these questions in the context of other review mechanisms, for example, in a preventive review or in an ex post facto review procedure. The Court therefore rejected the petition requesting abstract interpretation of Article IX.2 and  IX.3 of the Fundamental Law.
- Bulletin 2011/3, [HUN-2011-3-008].