#MediafreedomHungary: a united call to defend journalists’ right to do their job

ECPMF-chair Henrik Kaufholz gave the starting signal for a Europe-wide action day to raise awareness for press freedom violations in Hungary. First thing in the morning he went to the Hungarian embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark, to personally deliver a letter addressed to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

The letter in the name of the ECPMF and its supporters calls upon Viktor Orban to investigate a case of press freedom violations: In September 2015, six journalists were physically attacked, detained and hindered from doing their jobs at the Hungarian-Serbian border. Despite an ECPMF-fact finding mission, the case was neither investigated by the relevant authorities nor recognized as press freedom violation.

But now Viktor Orban was reminded of his duty as the letter in Hungarian and English not only reached embassies and consulates all over Europe, but was brought to the Prime Minister’s Office in Budapest, too. Freelance journalist Balazs Nagy Navarro, who chairs the ECPMF supervisory board personally delivered the appeal:

This is our demand to investigate the incident and to ask the Prime Minister, not only by words but by action to defend the freedom of the press in Hungary and other European countries as well.”

With this action, the ECPMF made a good example to show why it was founded: to unite different media freedom organisations from all over Europe in one big action and to advocate for press freedom with one loud voice. The action reached embassies from North to South and East to West, with participants in 12 countries from many different organisations including the Journalists’ Association of Serbia, PEN Sweden, the Journalists’ Association of Athens and the Norwegian Journalists Union. Of course, ECMPF’s partner organisations, among them Italian Ossigeno per l’Informazione, Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso and the European Federation of Journalists also took part in the action.

Apart from the direct action to bring the letters to the embassies, the day was important to raise awareness for freedom of expression in Hungary. On social media, the hashtag #MediafreedomHungary was used to draw the attention to Hungary and the behaviour of Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

The ECPMF thanks all its press freedom friends for participating in the action and promises to follow up the case and the result of the action.