Freedom of opinion vs. freedom of assembly

Disappointing news for those who believe in the freedom of expressing opinion: On February 15, 2006 the Court of Pest County (Pest Megyei Bíróság) delivered its final judgment about the two activists of MIEP- Jobbik for holding an unannounced press conference in front of the Ministry of the Interior last summer.

The “unannounced” press conference was disrupted and dismissed by the police. The reason for disrupting the crowd of two people according to the police was that if an assembly is unannounced it must be dismissed, without regard to the reason of the assembly. Unfortunately, seemingly this reasoning is accepted by the court as well.

The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union would like to emphasize again that the freedom of expressing opinion is one of the most significant institutions of a democratic state. In our opinion to terminate a two member press conference held on the street for it has not been announced at the police 72 hours before it starts, does not stands for the democratic standards.

This unfortunate precedent may result in becoming an obstacle for small political groups or civil organizations to react in timely manner and forming quick press conferences on the street if needed. Those who are attracted to conspiracy theories might raise the question whether the bigger political parties announce their press conferences held on the streets as well. According to the opinion of the activists in question, the answer to this question is: no.

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