European Federation of Journalists

Hungarian foreign ministry lists journalists’ trips abroad

In a letter dated 2 June 2020, József Magyar, the Hungarian deputy secretary of state for development of European affairs at the ministry of foreign affairs and trade, asked Hungarian embassies in the European Union to provide information about the professional visits of Hungarian journalists to the respective EU countries. The letter, unveiled on 21 September by the online news platform Telex, requests embassies to report professional visits, training courses and research trips for Hungarian journalists in recent years. Hungarian representations were asked to report when these trips abroad took place, which Hungarian media participated, and which organisations or press…

In Hungary EU funds are used to finance pro-government media

The political interference at Index, one of the last independent news outlets in Hungary, requires a strong reaction from the leaders of the European Union. The move contravenes the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which is a legally binding charter. The EU should feel responsible: issued on Thursday, the EU Media Pluralism Monitor (MPM2020) states that “EU-funds are constantly used to finance pro-government media and spread anti-EU messages” in Hungary. Inaction on behalf of the EU leaders allows Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to tighten his authoritarian grip. Yesterday, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) together with its Media Freedom Rapid…

Hungary: journalists at Index resign, EU must take action

Thousands of people took to the streets in Budapest on Friday evening to demonstrate against the attacks on Hungary’s biggest independent news portal “Index”. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomes this protest march and calls on European leaders to protect media freedom in Hungary. The editorial board and more than 70 journalists at “Index” have resigned, two days after its editor-in-chief Szabolcs Dull was fired amid claims of political interference. On Friday, three leading editors and more than 70 others said they were ending their employment there, because board president Laszlo Bodolai had refused to reinstate the chief editor. The…

2020 Annual Report: Attacks on media in Europe must not become a new normal

Launch of the 2020 Annual Report by the partner organisations to the Council of Europe Platform to Promote the Protection of Journalism and Safety of Journalists Attacks on press freedom in Europe are at serious risk of becoming a new normal, 14 international press freedom groups and journalists’ organisations, including the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), warn today as they launch the 2020 annual report of the Council of Europe Platform for the Protection of Journalists. The fresh assault on media freedom amid the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened an already gloomy outlook. The report analyses alerts submitted to the Platform…

EU urged again to protect rule of law during COVID-19 states of emergency

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today joined 80 MEPs and civil society organisations, including Transparency International and Access Info Europe, in calling on the European Union to address restrictions on the rule of law and human rights, including freedom of expression and information, being introduced via coronavirus pandemic emergency measures. In an open letter sent to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU Council President Charles Michel, the signatories warn of the misuse of the coronavirus crisis to silence dissent, limit freedom of expression, marginalise civil society, and erode democratic values. The letter also calls on the EU to…

Hungary: EFJ urges again the EU to condemn limits on freedom of information

In the wake of our discussion on Friday with the Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) expressed again today its serious concerns about the sweeping powers granted to Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in a parliamentary vote approving indefinite rule by decree and jail terms for spreading misinformation. The EFJ fully supports the petition “No Quarantine for Democracy!” developed with MEPs (including Ramona Strugariu, Stelios Kouloglou, Viola von Cramon-Taubadel, Lara Wolters and Guy Verhofstadt), which is calling on all EU Member States to ensure reinforced protections for journalists, the media…

COVID-19: journalists threatened with imprisonment in Hungary

UPDATE (30/03/2020): The Hungarian Parliament on Monday voted to allow the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to rule by decree without a set time limit. Under new law, people who spread what are viewed as untrue or distorted facts now face several years in jail. —————————— The Hungarian government demanded today an indefinite extension of the state of emergency. The bill would give prime minister Viktor Orbán sweeping powers to rule by decree, and the power to impose prison sentences of up to five years for promoting false information. The government has portrayed its request as a necessary response to…

EESC report points out decline of media freedom in Europe

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), which is composed of three groups representing the EU’s trade unions, employers’ organisations and diverse civil society organisations, issued an interim report on fundamental rights and the rule of law in Romania, Hungary, Poland, Austria and France. This report highlights serious concerns regarding freedom of expression and the media as put forward by civil society in the targeted countries. Building on this newly published report, the EESC held in Brussels on 5 November a high-level conference on “Fundamental Rights and the Rule of Law – Trends in the EU from a civil society…

Hungary: almost 78% of the media are pro-government

The European Federation of Journalists has expressed concerns over the state of media freedom and independence in Hungary following the publication of a study showing that the majority of media in the country are pro-government. It was published on 2 May by the media monitor Mérték and investigates the level of independence of the Hungarian media, stating almost 78% of the media are pro-government. The study, commissioned by a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Sven Giegold (the Greens), shows the far-reaching media power of the ruling Fidez-party. In November 2018 the creation of the government-related media foundation KESMA uniting…

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