June 21, 2024

21.06.2024 – News Outlets in Hungary Barred from Government Press Conference

On 13 June 2024, online news outlets Gulyáságyú Media (https://gulyasagyumedia.hu/) and Magyar Hang (https://hang.hu/) were allegedly denied access to a press conference held by the Prime Minister’s Office in Budapest, Hungary. Despite registering on time, all according to the Government Information Center’s requirements, they were not provided with any reason for their exclusion. As they could not enter, Gulyáságyú Média managed to ask a question they wanted the responsible governmental representative on the street, in front of the building. Balázs Gulyás, the editor-in-chief of Gulyáságyú Media, got a short answer from the governmental representative connected to the results of the last European Parliament election.

This incident is part of a broader pattern where Hungarian media critical of the government consistently face obstacles in accessing official press conferences or receiving responses to their inquiries. In the past years the authorities have allegedly systematically boycotted Magyar Hang and Gulyáságyú Media. According to this media, they always registered for the events on time, in accordance with the requirements of the Government Information Center.

Last December, representatives from Magyar Hang, Gulyáságyú Media, and Media1 (https://media1.hu/) were barred from a press conference where they had hoped to question Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orbán. Even with proper registration, officials allegedly prevented journalists from entering.

Other independent media, such as Szabad Európa (https://www.szabadeuropa.hu/) and Direkt36 (https://www.direkt36.hu/en/), have faced similar treatment. The government’s dismissive response to inquiries about these exclusions underscores the ongoing challenges faced by critical journalists in Hungary.

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) condemns the exclusion of critical media from the press conference on 13 June 2024. This systematic denial of access to critical media outlets is a violation of press freedom and an unacceptable form of discrimination against journalists. SEEMO calls on Hungarian authorities to uphold democratic principles by ensuring equal access for all media outlets and to cease discriminatory practices that undermine the fundamental right to free and independent journalism.

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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