The International and European Federations of Journalists, (IFJ and EFJ), together with News Media Europe, today expressed in Brussels their solidarity with the staff of the Hungarian biggest left-leaning newspaper “Népszabadság” (Freedom of the People), which was suspended two weeks ago without their knowledge.
IFJ and EFJ General Secretaries, Anthony Bellanger and Ricardo Gutiérrez respectively, today participated to a solidarity demonstration in Brussels, in front of the European Commission offices, where they met the daily's correspondent in Brussels, Katalin Halmai.
Halmai said that the suspesion of Népszabadságfollowed the Hungarian government’s aim at covering up corruption and other harmful issues for the ruling party aired by the newspaper. "Népszabadság is dead, victim of a murder planned in advance,” she stated.
Since Viktor Orban came to power in Hungary in 2010, many print and online publications as well as radio and television stations have come under the control of Orban’s inner circle and adopted a pro-government stance.
In April, the Hungarian government signed the Council of Europe Recommendation on the protection of journalism and safety of journalists. The recommendation specified that “States have a positive obligation to guarantee pluralism in the media sector, which entails ensuring that a diversity of voices, including critical ones, can be heard.”
Both Federation said that, even if the European Commission showed its concerns over the suspension media freedom in Hungary, that was not enough, and added that following the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the European Convention on Human Rights, states have the positive obligation to guarantee effective media pluralism. IFJ and EFJ together urged the Commission to require Hungary to fully comply with its commitments.
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The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries