February 21, 2024

21.02.2024 – Media Outlets Denied Access to Orban’s State of the Nation Speech

On 15 February 2024, Telex (https://telex.hu/), a news outlet in Hungary, reported that several independent media from Hungary and several international media, including Telex itself were denied access to Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orbán’s annual State of the Nation speech. Link to Telex news is here: https://telex.hu/english/2024/02/15/telex-and-several-foreign-news-outlets-refused-entry-to-orbans-annual-state-of-the-nation-speech. Also Associated Press – AP (https://apnews.com/), reported about the same problem.

The event was scheduled for 17 February 2024 at Várkert Bazár in Budapest, Hungary. The Foundation for a Civic Hungary, responsible for organizing the event, cited limitations on the number of media representatives allowed to attend as the reason for the exclusion.

According to Telex “Last year, Telex’s photographer was still allowed to be present for Viktor Orbán’s annual address, but the press was completely excluded from the Prime Minister’s following speeches: first in Kiskőrös on 15 March and then in Veszprém on 23 October. In the latter case, the press was initially “welcomed” after prior registration, but in the end, at the venue itself, staff of the independent press were not allowed inside the cordoned-off area”

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) condemns the exclusion of media outlets, both domestic and international, from attending Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s annual State of the Nation speech in Hungary. SEEMO calls on the Hungarian authorities to ensure that journalists can perform their essential role without hindrance or intimidation.

South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is a regional non-governmental, non profit network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in Southeast, South, East and Central Europe. SEEMO members are in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova (with the territory of Transdnestria), Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Türkiye / Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Austria, Italy, Vatican and San Marino have a special status in SEEMO. SEEMO has over 3000 individual members, and additional media as corporate members.

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