Vienna, 29 June 2017 - The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) expressed harsh criticism after recent developments in Hungary allow for further repression and censorship against human rights organisations.
On Tuesday, 13 June, the Hungarian parliament passed new legislation on NGOs which forces civil society groups that receive foreign funding to register separately and label all of their publications and initiatives pejoratively as “foreign-funded”. If they fail to comply, NGOs risk sanctions such as financial fines of up to 3,000 EUR or forced closure and dissolution of the organisation in Hungary.
The law requires all NGOs that receive more than 24,000 EUR per year to re-register as a civil society group “from abroad”. For several years, Hungarian officials have been targeting organisations in the country that are beyond their control – those funded from foreign and international sources. It has repeatedly been suggested that Hungarian-US billionaire George Soros whose foundation funds dozens of NGOs throughout the Balkans region is “endangering sovereignty and national security of Hungary”.
SEEMO is a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South, East and Central Europe and its press freedom work is supported by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) project, as part of a grant by the European Commission.