European Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović warned in a document released on Tuesday: “Hungary is now the time to restore media freedom.”
According to the European Commission, the Hungarian authorities, led by sovereign prime minister Viktor Orban, are systematically attacking human rights activists and investigative journalists, “to send a clear message, that is, against any form of criticism of the government. Will be retaliated against,” said.
In addition, Hungary does not recognize the ruling of the International Court of Justice, which shows that the government has no intention to abide by the law. This is “the main prerequisite for freedom of speech,” Mikhatovic said.
The health crisis has further exacerbated the situation in 2020 as a result of a series of emergency regulations.
In order to correct this situation, Dunja Mijatovic suggested that Hungary amend the law to allocate the excessive powers of the chairman of media institutions to more independent institutions.
Budapest must also respect laws and European norms regarding media pluralism.
The authorities must also condemn hate speech against journalists and end false propaganda activities that have been affected by human rights activists and government critics.
Mikhatovic finally emphasized that free political debate must be held before the 2022 parliamentary elections, and he called for equal treatment in the media.
The relationship between Viktor Orban and European institutions has been strained for more than a decade.
European institutions have repeatedly targeted Hungary to resolve media freedom issues, especially last month when the authorities refused to make concessions to Hungary’s first independent radio station Clubradi, which is often critical of the government.