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World Press Freedom Day: AEJ Hungary protests at many-sided crackdown on press freedom

To commemorate World Press Freedom Day the Hungarian Section of the AEJ expresses its concern at the series of attacks on press freedom and free speech that have pushed Hungary further down the Freedom House press freedom list. The country is now ranked in 44th place,   behind not only Slovakia, but Romania and Bulgaria as well. Direct or disguised interventions of the government – from the demise of the critical left wing daily   Népszabadság, through the one-sided content regulation of the public media, to concentrating state advertisements in pro-government media – all go against European values, of which freedom of the press is a key element. So is a media system that functions under market conditions, free from state interference. Academic freedom and the free, and unhindered operations of   non-governmental organizations are properly regarded as fundamental European values, too. The Hungarian Section of the AEJ joins the European institutions and organizations that - regardless of party affiliation – publicly criticize the newly adopted law which threatens the renowned Central European University, and demand the withdrawal of plans to penalize non-governmental organizations that receive support from foreign sponsors. The Hungarian Section AEJ believes that these developments, inspired by domestic political considerations, are increasingly marginalizing Hungary and are causing immeasurable damage to the country's external relations in the medium and long term.   Even the Hungarian prime minister has acknowledged that the majority of the population supports EU membership. It is well known that the vast majority of funds needed for Hungary’s economic growth come from the EU. So we beliwve that the government-backed "Stop Brussels” campaign is economically harmful and politically misleading. The Hungarian Section protests against the continuation of that campaign, recalling that the Hungarian prime minister was strongly warned recently in Brussels to modify his anti-EU politics. The Hungarian Section asserts that it is not Brussels, but rather the official policies espoused by the Hungarian authorities, that has to be stopped from continuing down a road that leads nowhere.