18:03 17 May 2020
Post by: WBJ

Hungary: First arrests for "spreading fake news"

Hungary: First arrests for "spreading fake news"
Source: European People's Party

The first people posting critical comments on the Internet about Viktor Orbán's government are detained and accused of "disseminating false information during a pandemic." In Hungary, it is currently up to 5 years in prison.

Adopted by the Hungarian parliament on March 30, the so-called The Anti-Coronavirus Act gave Prime Minister Viktor Orban very broad powers during the pandemic. Pursuant to the provisions of the Basic Law of 2011 prepared by the Orban government and parliamentarians, the act indefinitely introduced a state of emergency and suspended its activities. This gave the government the right to issue decrees not requiring parliamentary approval. In addition, high penalties were set for "spreading fake news". You may be imprisoned for up to 5 years. According to the Hungarian authorities, these provisions are to help combat the coronavirus epidemic, according to the opposition, it is only about strengthening Orbán's power. The provision on penalties for "disinformation" is seen as a threat to media freedom, because it can be used to gag the mouths of unruly journalists.

According to data provided by the police, proceedings for the dissemination of false information and incitement to fear were initiated against 85 people by May 11.

The European Parliament has also dealt with the issue of the controversial Hungarian legislation on coronavirus. Most speakers emphasized that the emergency measures taken by the Hungarian government to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, including the declaration of a state of emergency for an indefinite period and restricting freedom of expression, are not in line with EU rules and pose a growing threat to democracy. MEPs called on the European Commission to initiate infringement proceedings and impose economic sanctions on Hungary (suspension of funds from the new financial perspectives and reconstruction plan) until they comply with the rule of law.


victor orban
anti-coronavirus act

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