European Union Should Heed Call of ‘One Million for Press Freedom’ in Hungary, says EFJ

Today the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ),

the European group of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)

supported the massive protest which took place on Sunday in Budapest as part of

ongoing campaign waged by journalists and civil society groups for media

pluralism in Hungary.

"When media and journalists are put in a difficult

situation, it is essential that journalists are supported by civil society

groups. We are happy that demonstrations in Hungary also saw the need for free

and democratic information" said EFJ President Arne König.

This year's commemoration of the anti- soviet uprising

in Hungary held on 23 October was marked by a rally at which nearly one hundred

thousand people demonstrated against Hungarian government's policies in

Budapest under the banner "You don't like the system?" 

Some fifty thousand symbolic "press cards" were given

away to the demonstrators to make them raise their voice and to underline the

importance of a free press for a democratic society. Demonstrators also

denounced the current policies that chip away at social and working conditions,

including for journalists and media workers as was observed by an EFJ mission

to the country on 4 October.

The rally was organised by the "One Million for the Freedom of Press" Facebook

group and other civil organisations.

The EFJ calls on the EU leaders, including the EU Commission President, Mr.

Jose Manuel Barroso, the EU Commissioners and MEPs with responsibility for good

governance to heed this call, to revise their so far timid position and adopt

an unequivocal stand regarding press freedom in Hungary. The Federation also reiterates

its call for the creation of a proper and independent media freedom monitoring

body by the European Union.

The EFJ  stresses

that press freedom and media pluralism are explicitly included in the European

Charter of Fundamental Rights but accused the European Union of failing to take

any pro-active step to enforce them or agree to  sanctions against countries that do not

respect them.

An international mission of professional organisations and civil society groups will go to Hungary on 14-16

November to assess the situation and make specific recommendations.

The EFJ represents more

than 260.000 members in over 30 countries
For more

information, please contact EFJ on + 32 2 235 22 00