Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Hungarian Presidency of the EU

Hungary has just assumed the presidency of the EU. In Parliament today Hungarian Prime Minister Orban addressed the European Parliament, and was met by a silent protest as MEPs covered their mouths with tape. This was in response to a new law restricting the freedom of the Hungarian press, a law that has attracted widespread criticism from journalists around the world. The law places the Hungarian media effectively under the control of the country's ruling party, and compels journalists to reveal sources if the government demands it.
This is in the context of a Europe in which state control of the press is becoming increasingly common. It is a development that worries me greatly, and one that I will campaign against at every opportunity.
A free press is not only desirable, it is an absolute prerequisite of a healthy democracy. We must defend it vigorously.