Declaration of Protest

Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) has been informed with revelation that Gatter László, the head of the Metropolitan Court of Budapest, denounced certain leaders of the Communist Party (Munkáspárt) for slander, since one of the court’s sentence, delivered in connection with an internal debate of the Labour Party, was called “political” by the Party’s web site.

Press Statement

Freedom of criticism and expressing opinion is one of the milestones that define an open society. It is particularly important in an open, democratic society to let citizens express their opinion about the activity of public power establishments without fear and danger of penalty. The No. 30/1992. statement of the Constitutional Court shares this approach as well.

It is a definite viewpoint of HCLU that citizens should be allowed to form their opinion freely, even if that is without base, on the decision carried out by any public power organization, thus also about judicial sentences, and to assess those. HCLU requires self-discipline in expressing opinion on the judicial sentences only from public people of other public power fields – such as members of parliament and governmental functionaries.

HCLU supposes that the bench’s respect would be guaranteed if high-positioned judges were not involved in everyday political debates and if they could welcome the criticism regarding the activity of the court with some liberality. It is rather saddening that it is the court itself - keeping the political rights of freedom impartially, based on its constitutional function - which reaches out, through its leaders, to devices of penal statues in order to press down criticism.

HCLU finds it especially worrying that lately some public power organizations and public people have constantly tried to block freedom of expression of opinion – by hiding behind their positive reputation. HCLU requires from Gatter László to withdraw his denunciation and at the same time it offers free legal help for the denounced leaders of Communist Party.

Budapest, 28-November-2005

dr. Dénes Balázs
Executive Director of HCLU

 

Share

Related articles

NGOs Call for Advertising Boycott over Anti-Roma Statements in Hungarian Media

The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) is joining with a coalition of Hungarian NGOs are calling on domestic companies and Hungarian divisions of multinationals to take a stand against hate speech in Hungary. The NGOS are asking, among others, Vodafone and T-Com, FEDEX, IKEA and Procter and Gamble to reconsider advertising in a Hungarian newspaper which published an article talking about Romani people in unacceptably racist and prejudiced language.

Journalist Wins Defamation Lawsuit

Lajos Gubcsi, former Director of Zrínyi Media Ltd. – a background institution of the Ministry of National Defense – initiated a defamation lawsuit against József Spirk, journalist of Index.hu, the leading online news provider in Hungary. The HCLU’s Legal Aid Service provided legal representation. The court ruled that facts written in the article were well-founded and as a result ruled in favor of the journalist. The ruling is final.

Constitution-concerns of the Hungarian Judiciary Elite

Leading Hungarian NGOs, Transparency International Hungary and the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union besides expressing their criticism about the new Hungarian Constitution and the Constitution-writing process, wish to express their deep concern regarding the recent initiatives of the parliamentary majority to radically encroach upon the independence of the judiciary system.