Pittella with journalists from Népszabadság: The free press is in danger. Hungary risks turning away from full democracy

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15181344_1469081459772702_3109329714476985456_nThe S&D Group today welcomed journalists from the closed Hungarian newspaper, Népszabadság. The paper, which often took a critical stance towards the government, was closed last month following various investigative reports into high-level officials. The group of journalists met with Group president Gianni Pittella and took part in a group discussion on media freedom in the EU.

S&D Group president Gianni Pittella said:

“The current media situation in Hungary is very worrying. Papers that oppose the government are being closed or taken over by Orbán’s cronies. If you do not have a free press then you cannot have a functioning democracy.

“We are delighted to welcome journalists from Népszabadság here today to discuss their current situation and wider questions on press freedom in Hungary. We urge the Hungarian authorities to do all they can to ensure the Népszabadság can reopen and provide its vital impartial coverage to the Hungarian citizens.”

István Ujhelyi MEP, head of the Hungarian delegation to the S&D Group, added:

“Népszabadság played an essential role in Hungary by exposing corruption and holding the government to account. Its closure is part of a worrying trend by Orbán’s government, to silence dissent and prevent critical coverage of the regime. We want to make clear that we will not let them get away with this. We, in the European Parliament, will do all we can to support these journalists and support the freedom of the press that underpins all of our democratic societies.”

Strasbourg, 23.11.2016