Internet freedom in Hungary continues to decline. Hungary enjoys high levels of overall connectivity and relatively affordable internet access. While there are few overt restrictions on content in Hungary, the government continues to consolidate its control over the telecommunications and media landscape. During the coverage period, the political opposition experienced significant cyberattacks during their primary elections. Additionally, Parliament extended a “state of danger,” akin to a state of emergency that was originally enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The government also blocked state-owned Russian websites in response to a European Council regulation following the invasion. Additionally, the government admitted to purchasing spyware technology, which was allegedly used to target journalists and lawyers.
The national teachers' strikes, which started in March this year, have gained new momentum since the start of the school year. But why is strike the most crucial demand for teachers if some are still striking now? And how is civil disobedience different? We've rounded up the most important things to know about strikes, why different rules apply to teachers, and why unions say the government has made it impossible to strike in education.
According to civil society organisations, the bill submitted by the Government which would amend the rules of public consultation “in the interest of reaching an agreement with the European Commission” offers only pretend solutions. Strengthening public participation in lawmaking is an important goal, but it would require, first and foremost, real governmental will, meaningful implementation of existing laws, and much more effective guarantees than those included in the draft law.
It has been a year since the Pegasus scandal broke out, and developments in the case have since then demonstrated that even surveillance that breaches fundamental rights can comply with the letter of the law in Hungary. Representing seven people affected by the scandal, we are taking their cases to all possible Hungarian and international forums to fight against these unlawful practices. These are our takeaways from the past year.
In Hungary, the erosion of the constitutional state and the elevation of corruption to the status of a public policy tool are happening simultaneously, in close connection with each other, mostly hidden behind some alleged public interest objective. In the last two years, this alleged public interest objective has been to control the pandemic. K-Monitor and the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union have been documenting this process since the start of the pandemics. The summary and final report of this work covers the period from March 2020 to March 2022. In our report, we present the most significant changes in the last two years that have increased opacity and hampered the fight against corruption, budgetary irregularities, the outsourcing of public assets and measures that disproportionately affect opposition municipalities.
The devastating war in Ukraine is one of the key challenges of this time in Europe, and especially in Hungary that shares a border with the attacked country. Russia has been using state financed propaganda to disseminate disinformation worldwide. Despite the restrictive measures put in place by the European Union targeting Russia Today and Sputnik, Russian war propaganda has been continuously disseminated in Hungary. The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union and Political Capital filed a joint complaint to the European Commission.