Babies around the age of five-seven months might be able to remain in a sitting position when parents put them into that position, but they are still unable to sit up unaided.
In Hungary where we live the common knowledge (reinforced by pediatricians as well as by random web pages) seems to be that you should not let your baby be in a sitting position for a long time before they are able to sit up by themselves. The alleged reason is that their back muscles are not strong enough yet and hence this position can cause damage in their spine.
Googling around a little bit, I see a lot of controversy; while the claim is accepted in some communities, others have never heard of it. I understand that there might be other disadvantages to sitting but I'm less interested in those.
Is there any solid evidence supporting the theory of potential spine damage? The closest thread I have found is http://ask.metafilter.com/182420/BabyFilter-is-there-any-medical-evidence-that-its-bad-for-babies-to-sit-or-stand-before-they-can-get-into-those-positions-on-their-own; no such evidence emerged there.