Hungarian Journalist Prosecuted for Publishing Leaked Government-EU Communication

That the transparency of relations between member states and EU Institutions can sometimes have unexpected and extreme consequences is proven by a current transparency row in Hungary.

Journalist Attila Mong recently published a letter from EU Commission President Barrosso to Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orbán of 19 December 2011 on his blog, and now faces prosecution. The Hungarian government interprets the publication of this leaked document a violation of the PM’s right of privacy of communication. Prosecution could lead to several years’ imprisonment.

Although the leaking of the document concerns an alleged offense under Hungarian law, several international advocacy organisations, among them Access Info Europe, the n-ost Network for Reporting on Eastern Europe and the South East European Network for Professionalization of Media (SEENPM) have expressed their concern. They have pointed out that the pending case creates an atmosphere of fear and that the Hungarian government’s position is not tenable under European law. –MH

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