Archive item

Title: An Indictment of the Hungarian Government's Anti-Democratic Conduct
Other/original title:
Publisher: The Canadian-Hungarian Democratic Charter
Files: Indictment of the Hungarian government's anti-democratic conduct.pdf
Abstract: In October 2011, a group of Hungarian-Canadian academics founded the Canadian-Hungarian Democratic Charter and issued this indictment against the government of Hungary, accusing it of wilful civil and human rights abuses. The indictment consists of ten separate sections with titles such as "The elimination of checks and balances", "The curtailment of judiciary independence from political control", and "An assault on private property rights". Section nine is devoted to "Restrictions on free speech and of free media". The indictment describes four separate, interlinked mechanisms in which press freedom is restricted, warning that Western analyses have generally only concentrated on one. First, it claims, "during the past few years, privately owned media in Hungary – print, electronic and on-line – has been bought up almost in its entirety by four business families (or oligarchies) closely aligned with [Prime Minister] Orban’s political party". These business groups "decide who can work in the mass media, what can or cannot be said, and which media outlet will or will not be financed via advertising, loans, or equity capital". Second, the public media have seen a "purge of independent journalists" and editors, resulting in "ruthlessly one-sided coverage of the news". Third, as highlighted in Western analyses, the new media legislation has created a range of restrictions and new regulatory authorities which the indictment calls overwhelmingly partisan, invoking the Klubrádió case as example. Finally, the government uses a fourth instrument "with a vengeance": the state is the single largest advertising buyer in Hungary, and the government utilises this clout to reward allies and punish enemies.
Publication/ adoption date: 2011-10-23
Language: English
Rights: The Canadian-Hungarian Democratic Charter. Permission for reproducing the document granted by email.