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.
The Venice Commission issued an opinion on the new Constitution (the “Fundamental Law”) of Hungary in June 2011. Due to the lack of an official Hungarian translation and the misleading statements of government party representatives, the public may have a false impression of the content of the opinion. Therefore, the Eötvös Károly Institute, the Hungarian Helsinki Commitee and the HCLU have prepared a joint analysis on the reactions of the Government in light of the Venice Commission’s opinion.
On July 19th, after a lengthy legal battle, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg ruled in favor of journalist Peter Uj, represented by the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union. The journalist criticized the state owned Tokaj Kereskedőház (Hungarian winery) and specifically characterized it’s wine as shit. Criminal charges (defamation and criminal libel) initiated by the Tokaj Kereskedőház were pressed against him.
The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) and the ARTICLE 19 Global Campaign For Free Expression prepared together an Information Note on the Hungarian Media Laws that enterted into force in January 2011.
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.
In their current, third analysis on the legislative work of the Hungarian Parliament, the Eötvös Károly Policy Institute, the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) and the Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC) examine whether the constitution-making process in Hungary meets the requirements deriving from the principle of the rule of law and compares the draft “Fundamental Law” (i.e. the draft of the new Constitution) submitted to the Parliament on 14 March 2011 with the present constitutional system.