MAY 27, 2011 Freedom Forum expresses solidarity to the warning of the Hungarian rights and media freedom groups against the upcoming constitution in Hungary which abolishes independent oversight of the public's right to know. The new constitution will enter into force on 1 January 2012 in Hungary.
Human rights and media freedom groups warned that the new constitution replaces the independent Data Protection and Freedom of Information Commissioner with an administrative authority will seriously weaken the right to access to information in Hungary, which in 1992 was the first country in central and Eastern Europe to adopt an access law.
“The adoption of the Hungarian constitution intolerably violates civil rights of the Hungarian people. The new constitution severely damages freedom of expression in a country that was once a European leader in the public’s right to know,” said Andreas Bock, editor at the media organisation n-ost.
“The Hungarian Data Protection and Information Officer has been key to promoting and protecting the right in Hungary and has been a model for the region,” added Helen Darbishire, Executive Director of Access Info Europe. “This move is a way to bring an immediate end to the independence of the existing information commissioner and replace him with a more subservient authority.”
“The new agency will be less independent, consequently it won’t be able to confront the administration in major freedom of information cases, which will result in a less transparent and more corrupt state.” – added Tivadar Hüttl, Freedom of Information Program Director of Hungarian Civil Liberties Union.
Similarly, Freedom Forum expresses solidarity to the recent campaign of the Spanish people which demanded 'access to information law.'
“Government apathy for transparency is unacceptable, it should be a priority. The denial of the right of access to information in Spain is a perfect example of the bigger problem; people are in the streets because they feel that the government is not working for them” commented Victoria Anderica of Access Info Europe.
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