Emergency law ‘big threat’ to independent media

I criticized the government on my Facebook page. We have a new law for three weeks, or something like that. The government can make any law and any jurisdiction without Parliament. And the problem is that there is no limit, no time limit, in that law. When I made a post on my Facebook page, it was on the day that the Parliament accepted this law. I wrote, “From today, Hungary became a full autocracy, not a hybrid autocracy like before.”

About this project

This project was produced by VOA’s Extremism Watch and Press Freedom desks. It includes a snapshot of restrictions and challenges for media covering COVID-19 worldwide and personal views of journalists who spoke with VOA.

In this coronavirus emergency law, there is a very big threat to the independent media, because you can face from one to five years imprisonment if you are covering any story which can slow down the coronavirus response. “Slowing down the response” can be anything, even a true fact. I think they will use this law first to threaten, not to let the independent media work, and then maybe they will use it at the court.

We don’t know how long this emergency situation will last, because they are not saying in the law that this emergency situation will stay until, for example, the WHO will declare that the pandemic is over. The law says the government can say when it is over.