27 Nov 2019 Lvl. 2
Alert created on: 25 Oct 2019 n° 135/2019 Hungary
New Restrictions on Journalists Working in Hungarian Parliament
On 21 October 2019, the Speaker of the National Assembly of Hungary, László Kövér, published a list of new rules which have come into force for the autumn session which restrict the freedom of movement and activities of journalists working in both Hungarian Parliament Building and the offices of the National Assembly. The new regulations seriously affect the ability of journalists to interview MPs and scrutinize the Parliament’s work. Under the new rules, recording audio or video are now expressly banned in the corridor surrounding the plenary chamber and the nearby corridors, all restaurants and cafeterias, and areas where security equipment is located. Media are confined to one small press bracket in the parliamentary hallway. In the parliamentary lobby there are just two small roped-off areas where journalists can take photographs or videos. Press conferences are only permitted to be held in the designated press room of the parliament. The new rules mean that parliamentary correspondents are now barred from following MPs to ask questions, as was previously the custom. Interviewees also have the right to refuse an interview or walk away, as is the norm in other parliaments. However, once a Hungarian lawmaker has declined to answer, the journalist is no longer allowed to question them further. Those who break the rules risk being banned from the building. Moreover, the period of validity of parliamentary entrants has also been limited, meaning they will only be permitted freely during the regular parliamentary term. Journalists reporting outside this time will have to buy a daily entrance ticket if they wish to enter the building.
27 Nov 2019
Reply from the Hungarian authorities (National Assembly)