Transparency International, the global anti-corruption movement, is calling on the government of Hungary to stop its strategy of intimidation aimed at stifling the voice of civil society and democratic oversight.
Every government, irrespective of political affiliation, should uphold the rights of citizens in a democracy to freely monitor and evaluate public institutions as well as office-holders.
“The government should stop harassing civil society and the media simply because they criticise the state. It is imperative in a democracy that citizens have the right and the space to speak out about key issues affecting their lives and provide oversight of their elected leaders. The values of human rights, transparent public institutions, and a democratic system of check and balances, should be central to the government’s agenda regardless of political affiliation,” said Anne Koch, Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia for Transparency International.
This week, the Government Control Office (KEHI) raided three non-governmental organisations that administer the civil society funding programme of the European Economic Area and Norway Grants. The government has also compiled lists of grant recipients, all organisations working on anti-corruption, human rights, gender equality and freedom of speech, as well as of members of the selection panels.
“Preparing lists, labelling these CSO’s with political bias and discrediting their reputations in this manner runs counter to all written and unwritten European norms,” said József Péter Martin, Executive Director of Transparency International Hungary.