Annual Report: Hungary 2013

May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Hungary 2013

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Freedom of expression

In May, Parliament amended the media legislation, addressing some of the shortcomings identified by the Constitutional Court in December 2011. In particular, the amendments restricted the control of the authorities over the content of the print and internet media, and strengthened the protection of journalistic sources. However, the Council of Europe voiced concerns that some negative provisions, such as the obligation for printed and online media to be registered or face heavy fines, still persisted. Critics warned that media legislation continued to expose the media to political control.

  • In September Hungary's national news service, MTI, sued a journalist for defamation following his accusation that it was using taxpayers' money to misinform the public. The move was criticized by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media as likely to have an intimidating effect on independent critical journalists.

Refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, criticized Hungary's treatment of asylum-seekers, reporting that conditions in reception centres and the increased use of administrative detention of asylum-seekers fell short of international and EU standards. Asylum-seekers returned to Hungary under the Dublin Regulation were usually issued with expulsion orders and detained, irrespective of their wish to seek asylum.

Rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people

More than 3,000 participants attended the Pride march in Budapest on 12 July. In April, the Chief of the Budapest Police decided to ban it on the grounds that it would disrupt traffic flows. The ban was quashed by the Budapest Metropolitan Court a few days later. According to the organizers, the police provided adequate protection for the march.

Amnesty International visits/reports

  • An Amnesty International delegate visited Hungary in July.
  • Hungary: Report into vigilante activities in Gyöngyöspata fails to address discrimination (EUR 27/001/2012)
  • New Hungarian Criminal Code: A missed opportunity to do more on hate crimes (EUR 27/003/2012)