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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Government Transparency and Trust

This morning, Utrecht School of Government researcher Stephan Grimmelikhuijsen was awarded a doctorate for his dissertation on transparency and trust.

In his dissertation, Grimmelikhuijsen delved into the complexities of a widely held expectation of transparency: that citizens will trust their government more if they have more information about it. In order to study this question, Grimmelikhuijsen chose for the methodological interesting angle of an experimental setting, working with self-designed transparency websites as templates. The research was co-supervised by Open Government in the EU team member dr. Albert Meijer, while prof. Deirdre Curtin of our team was on the reading committee. The Ministry of Home Affairs has already shown interest in the dissertation and will be discussing its implications for policy during its next ministerial meeting. Grimmelikhuijsen will continue to investigate the impact of government transparency in a post-doctoral programme at the USG.

A press statement about the dissertation can be found here.


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Yesterday, the European Parliament formally passed its first reading in the revision procedure on Regulation 1049/2001.