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…

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…

Newsocracy: Protect Public Service Media against Political Interference

Public Service Media should broadcast for the public, be financed and controlled by the public. They should be a trusted source of news and provide impartial information to enable citizens to make informed decisions. While Public Service Media should be independent, the rise of populism further exposes them to political interference. Politicians try to undermine the media’s independence, manipulate and censor journalistic output. In the worst cases, Public Service Media are turned into state-controlled media, propaganda or public relations instruments.