Draft amendments to Freedom of Information Act in Hungary should be discussed with all stakeholders

Draft amendments to the Freedom of Information Act of Hungary raise concerns about access to public information and should be consulted with all stakeholders before adoption, Dunja Mijatović, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media said today.

“I call on the Parliament not to adopt the proposed amendments and to launch a public discussion with all stakeholders to ensure that the changes will support, and not limit, access to public information.”

Mijatović said that freedom to access information is essential to guaranteeing transparency and the accountability of public affairs.

“It is an indispensable instrument for citizens to remain well informed, and an essential tool for journalists to do their job,” Mijatović said.

The draft amendments, proposed by the Justice Ministry on 26 June under a fast-track procedure, are set to be voted on in Parliament. Hungarian and international media NGOs have expressed concern on several amendments.

“The media performs a key role as the public watchdog,” Mijatović said. “Restricting this role by limiting freedom of information could stifle public debates and weaken journalism and media freedom in Hungary.”

Mijatović is in Podgorica, Montenegro, to discuss media freedom issues with the Prime Minister of Montenegro and to promote the work of major Montenegrin media outlets on media self-regulation.

The original text is available here.

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