31 Jan 2019 Lvl. 2
Alert created on: 31 Oct 2018 n° 121/2018 Hungary
Criminal Charges Brought Against Hungarian Investigative Journalist András Dezső
Criminal charges have been brought against András Dezső, an investigative journalist who works for the independent news website Index.hu. On 31 October 2018, Dezső wrote on his Facebook page that he discovered he was being charged from a report published earlier in the day in a pro-government daily, but had not yet received official notification the prosecutor’s office. The charges appear to relate to alleged misuse of personal information in connection with an article that Dezső wrote for Index.hu looking into the background of a woman of Hungarian origin who in March 2018 - during the election campaign - gave an interview to the Hungarian state broadcaster M1 in which she said that she had moved back to Budapest from Stockholm because of a deteriorating security situation in Sweden she said was the result of the presence of large numbers of migrants there. The woman's interview with M1 caused a media storm in Hungary and was widely seen as providing a boost to the ruling party Fidesz in the run-up to the April 2018 election.
30 Nov 2018
On 30 November 2018, Index.hu journalist András Dezső received a reprimand from a Budapest court for the alleged misuse of personal information in an article he published in March about a woman who claimed that Budapest was a safer city than Stockholm because of the lower level of immigration in Hungary. According to the news website HVG.hu, the reprimand handed down by the judicial authorities was the mildest possible punishment. Dezső rejects the charge against him and insists that the information contained in his article was drawn from an official and freely accessible Swedish database.
31 Jan 2019
Reply from the Hungarian authorities (information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade)