VMU Presents Attila Mong’s Lecture About Hungarian Media Law


On Thursday, April 14, 1.15 p.m., at VMU (S. Daukanto g. 28, room 206), the Transparency International Lithuanian Chapter (TILC) and the VMU Dept. of Public Communications are organizing a lecture by one of the most famous Hungarian investigative journalists, Pulitzer Prize winner Attila Mong.

The lecture, titled Does the New Hungarian Media Law Mean the Beginning of Restrictions on Free Press in the Eastern Europe?, is part of the initiative titled Breakfast of Journalists, which frequently holds discussions on the challenges of journalist’s profession with foreign media experts.

As a protest against the new law on the media in Hungary, which was passed on December 21 last year, Attila Mong declared a minute of silence during live broadcast of the show 180 Minutes on the radio station MR1-Kossuth. Afterwards, the journalist was suspended from his work at the station and a disciplinary case was opened against him. Attila Mong, dubbed "a rarity among Hungarian journalists" by the international media, will discuss the new Hungarian media law, which has been strongly criticised for imposing tight restrictions on the freedom of the press.

During the lecture, the guest will talk about why the new law on the media has received such heavy criticism from the Hungarian and international media, as well as international journalists’ organizations. Mong will also discuss the consequences that the new law has had on the Hungarian media. Another burning question of the lecture – is a country imposing restrictions on free speech at risk of becoming a "bad example" to other democratic countries and does it imply the beginning of a wider wave of censorship in the region?

Anyone wishing to participate is invited to register by sending e-mail to milda@transparency.lt until April 13. The language of the lecture is English.

Atilla Mong is a Hungarian journalist and a public figure, who has worked as an editor and reporter in the Hungarian national radio and TV, the editor-in-chief of business journal Manager Magazin (part of the Der Spiegel group), editor of business weekly Figyelő and investigative journalism website www.oknyomozo.hu. From 2000 to 2010 he hosted live shows on the radio station Inforadio. Since 2010, Mong is hosting a three-hour live broadcast show 180 Minutes on Hungary’s public radio MR1-Kossuth. In 2004, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his book investigating one of the greatest banking scandals in Hungary, which took place in the beginning of the 21st century.

On December 21, 2010, the Hungarian parliament passed a highly controversial law on the media. The law was criticized for legitimizing strict control of political media, granting too much power to a governmental institution which oversees the media and allowing its chairman to impose large fines for the publishing of "unbalanced content" and violations of public morality. The new law determines that the journalists do not have the right to not disclose their sources if the non-disclosure is considered to endanger national security.

Since the law’s coming into effect in January 2011, the international community has been criticizing Hungary for autocratic tendencies and not adhering to democratic principles.

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