Hungarian Journalist Júlia Halász attacked and violently expelled from Fidesz’s public meeting in BudapestNo reply yet
Júlia Halász, a reporter for the Hungarian 444.hu website, was violently expelled from a public forum organised by the ruling party Fidesz party held at Saint Imre (Saint Emeric) Secondary School in Budapest on 4 May 2017. Halász had started editing her report when she was approached by three men, believed to be bodyguards of the country’s economy minister Mihály Varga and defence minister István Simicskó, who told her to leave claiming she could not film the event without registration. Halász later returned to the room and took some photos with her cell phone, but had to leave again to take a phone call in the corridor. She was followed by László Szabó, the Fidesz’s deputy chief of staff in the district and the organiser of the meeting, who, according to the journalist, aggressively tried to take her out of the building when she finished her call. He accused her of filming the event and snatched her the cell phone which he refused to return and deleted photos from the telephone while pushing the journalist around and refusing to let her back in the room to retrieve her equipment. Halász started yelling for help, but László Szabó grabbed her by the arm and dragged her outside the building where he continued to threaten her and other Fidesz’s supporters attacked her, as well. The police was called by one school’s employee but, upon their arrival, Szabó had left the venue by the back door and nobody at the Fidesz’s event was willing to identify him as the man who had attacked Halász. The journalist said that Economy minister, Mihály Varga, later tried to mitigate the incident by promising that Ms. Halász’s equipment would be returned and offering to make himself available to her for an exclusive interview.
PACE resolution 2141 (2017) on Attacks against journalists and media freedom in Europe, 24 January 2017
Recommendation CM/Rec(2016)4 of the Committee of Ministers on the protection of journalism and safety of journalists and other media actors, 13 April 2016
Factsheet on freedom of expression and the broadcasting media, 4 April 2016
Factsheet on mass surveillance, 29 February 2016
Factsheet on media coverage of protests and demonstrations, 29 February 2016
A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Killings; abductions; threats and acts of violence against the physical integrity of journalists, their family members and other media actors; attacks against journalists’ sources because of their co-operation with journalists or media.
B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists
Arbitrary, unwarranted or politically-motivated arrests, detention and imprisonment of journalists and other media actors.
C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists
Harassment of journalists and other media institutions or actors; violence or interference causing damage or destruction of journalists’ equipment or other property; punitive or vindictive exercise of investigatory tax or administrative powers; arbitrary denial of access for journalistic coverage; threats to journalists’ privacy, threats to employment status, psychological abuse, bullying, online harassment and cyber-bullying;
Judicial intimidation: opportunistic, arbitrary or vexatious use of legislation, including defamation, anti-terrorism, national security, hooliganism or anti-extremism laws; issuing bogus or fabricated charges;
Political intimidation, including hate speech and use by public figures of abusive or demeaning language against journalists or media outlets;
Other forms of intimidation and harassment.
Failures to promptly, independently and effectively investigate and seek to prosecute crimes and offences against journalists and other media institutions or actors.
E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Acts having chilling effects on media freedom including restrictive legislation encroaching on media freedom;
Censorship, interference with editorial freedom;
Threats to the confidentiality of journalists’ sources;
Unjustified or indiscriminate blocking of websites or social media platforms, hacking, and surveillance or interception of communications data of journalists without due process of authorisation, etc.
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* European Federation of Journalists, International Federation of Journalists, Association of European Journalists , Article 19, Reporters Without Borders, Committee to Protect Journalists, Index on Censorship, International Press Institute, International News Safety Institute, the Rory Peck Trust
Covers the most severe and damaging violations of media freedom, including but not limited to murder, assassination or direct threat to the life of journalists or other media actors, or their family members, because of their journalistic work; physical assaults or any acts causing grievous injury to journalists or other media actors, or the use of violence to threaten their physical safety; impunity for any such violations; prolonged arbitrary detention or imprisonment of journalists because of their professional activities or their status as journalist; arbitrary closure of a media enterprise; and any other acts posing a grave threat or having a severe impact on media freedom, online or offline.
Covers all other serious threats to media freedom, including but not limited to physical assaults causing actual bodily harm, acts of intimidation and harassment; use by public figures of threatening or severely abusive language towards media members; unwarranted seizure or damage to property or equipment; laws and regulations that unduly restrict media freedom or access to information; actions that jeopardise the confidentiality of sources or the independence of the public sector broadcasters; abusive or disproportionate use of legislation; misuse of governmental or other powers to direct media content or to penalise media or journalists; interference with media freedom through ownership, control and regulation; and other acts posing a serious threat to media freedom, offline or online.
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