Statement of the Hungarian Section of the Association of European Journalists (AEJ)
The Board of the Hungarian Section of the AEJ endorses and joins the protest of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) against the decision by Budapest prosecutor to bring criminal charges against investigative reporter Andras Dezso. The journalist work for Index.hu, the biggest independent Hungarian website, and the charges against him include misuse of sensitive personal information. The AEJ Hungarian Section insists that investigative reporting is not a crime, and journalists must not be criminalized for doing their job of reporting matters of public interest based on publicly available sources.
The Board regards the case put forward by the prosecutors’ office as spurious and legally unsound. It is based on claims made by a woman who formerly lived in Sweden and who – as Andras Dezso wrote in an article – had been convicted several times in Sweden for defamation and harassment offences. The woman had concealed that relevant fact when she gave an interview on Hungarian TV that echoed the anti-migration campaign rhetoric of the ruling party in Hungary several weeks before the national election on 8th of April. In the interview the woman had sought to fuel fears about safety concerns arising from the actions of Muslim refugees and migrant in Sweden.
In accordance with the general principles of the AEJ we call for the charges against Andras Dezso to be dropped immediately. And we demand, as the CPJ did in its statement on the case, that the Hungarian authorities allow him to continue his work without any fear of reprisal. Investigative reporting is not a crime but an essential part of a functioning democracy.
Hungarian Section of the AEJ
Budapest, November 12, 2018
See the CPJ statement of 7 November 2018 here.