Demonstration outside MTVA building marks a year

Protest organizer Balázs Nagy Navarro and his fellow demonstrators marked a year of protest outside the headquarters of the Media Services and Asset Management Fund (MTVA) at Kunigunda útja in Buda.

Left-wing newspaper Nepszava and website note that since the demonstrators were ejected from their encampment near the headquarter’s entrance in November, protesters are kept to the street by dozens of security guards who enclose both the demonstrators and the public TV building. Employees are checked individually for their entry permission, the studios can only be entered through the back gate, according to Nepszava, which added that all these measures cost the MTVA several million forints per month.

Navarro and other protestors had been camped in tents outside the MTVA headquarters at Kunigunda útja in Buda since December 10, 2011. The demonstration was sparked by a public TV news decision to digitally remove the image of an outgoing Constitutional Court judge from a newscast. Navarro joined with demonstrators to show their concerns about government interference in public news broadcasts and other obstacles to press freedom since new media laws were passed in 2010.

The MTVA oversees the assets of and funding allocations for Hungary’s public media. The body is managed by Hungary’s Media Council, which is responsible for approving the Fund’s annual plan and subsidy policy and for determining the rules governing how MTVA’s assets can be used, managed, and accessed by the public media.