European Blog Action against Censorship in Hungary

Picture: shawnzrossi || Creative Commons BY 2.0

We are calling for a European Blog Action against censorship in Hungary!

On January 1st, Hungary will take over the Presidency of the EU Council. On the same day, a controversial new law will come into force that even the OSCE‘s media freedom representative has openly criticised - arguing in a recent report that “regulating online media is not only technologically impossible but it exerts a chilling, self-censoring effect on free expression.”

Under this new law, a National Media and Communications Authority (NMHH) will be set up – a body that Reuters reports will be “dominated by people loyal to the ruling Fidesz party.” Members of this new authority (all appointed by the government) will oversee all media in Hungary – including group blogs – opening the door to politically motivated censorship. The Foreign Minister of Luxembourg has argued that “[Hungary's] plans clearly violate the spirit and the letter of EU treaties,” adding: “It raises the question whether such a country is worthy of leading the EU.”

The new law does not require any third party to lodge a complaint – the NMHH can decide to levy fines entirely on its own. Furthermore, any media outlet targeted for being “unbalanced” by the new authority will have to pay fines of hundreds of thousands of euros first before it can lodge an appeal (a process that can take years). Media (especially bloggers) could be pushed into bankruptcy before they have a chance to appeal their fines – inevitably resulting in self-censorship as individuals are scared to risk irritating the government.

Europe’s bloggers are not going to accept that the EU Council will be presided over by a country acting against the fundamental rights of EU citizens. Such rank hypocrisy cannot go unchallenged. Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms of the EU is very clear about this:

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.

2. The freedom and pluralism of the media shall be respected.

We see this right being violated by the upcoming EU Council Presidency and are thus inviting bloggers from all around the EU to join our European Blog Action.

Voice your criticism in your blogs, on Twitter and Facebook – and put the links to your articles into the comments of this post. If you want, you can additionally send your links directly to the press team of the Hungarian Council Presidency – here is their email address: And you can also share your links and thoughts on Twitter – we are proposing the hashtag #NoToHuEU.

Let’s make ourselves heard!

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Please read OSCE’s legal analysis (PDF in English) of the Hungarian media law. A summary is also available here (PDF).


[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Richard Wouters, Thomas, Joe Litobarski and others. Joe Litobarski said: Please RT if you support free press! RT @bloggingportal: European Blog Action against censorship in Hungary: #NoToHuEU [...]

[...] zu schießen. Das erfordert Vernetzung und Kontakte. Erste Versuche werden zum Beispiel von unternommen: Voice your criticism in your blogs, on Twitter and Facebook – and put the links to [...]

Rigó JancsiDecember 22nd, 2010 at 7:23

Being worried and angry about the changes going on in Hungary, I have written a weekly summary of news on my blog for the last three months. I’m a German expat in Hungary, that’s why everything is in German. But I began translating my entries, so the last “weekly review” is in English, too. It includes comments on the first blow of the media council against the newspaper Népszabadság, the change of management at the radio station MR2 (new head: an extremist motorbike rocker) and on the cencorship that occured during Orbán’s visit in England last week, right there in Downing Street. I’ll continue with these entries as long as there are still valid news available in Hungary…

[...] béke, szabadság és egyetértés“, ezt kíván az egész Europa [...]

[...] am supporting’s campaign to raise awareness of this law and lodge my opposition to this [...]

[...] I personally believe that any attempt to reduce the freedom expression is a direct attack to democracy and in the longer term a disservice to the whole country and its citizens.   Myself, I shall be joining the European Blog Action against Censorship in Hungary. [...]

[...] – European Blog Action against Censorship in Hungary [...]

veraDecember 22nd, 2010 at 12:32

Another one from Germany:

MathewDecember 22nd, 2010 at 12:33

Just posted: Censoring Hungarian blogs during the Hungarian EU Presidency

RonDecember 22nd, 2010 at 12:34

See also this one from the Vice-President of the European Economic and Social Committee:

Europa, quo vadis? « … Kaffee bei mir?December 22nd, 2010 at 12:37

[...] ruft zu einer Aktion gegen die Zensur in Ungarn auf – bitte mitmachen und den Link auf euren [...]

LiliDecember 22nd, 2010 at 12:44

Wooow, thank you so much helping our country! It is such a good feeling!
Thank you all!

BenedekDecember 22nd, 2010 at 14:46

The EU shouldn’t give leadership to Hungary, not now. I’ll be pretty disappointed in this union if they let this happen. They should act now and remove this regime immediately, before it turns worse….we’re heading towards dictatorship in this country. Thank you for everyone who helps us by raising their voice against this nonsense in their own country. We seriously need help from you guys, don’t let them give leadership to a goverment like this. Thanks in the name of my country and my people!

RonDecember 23rd, 2010 at 0:50

Also don’t miss the blog posts by Fabien (; French) and Macarena (; Spanish). Gawain covered the law in his euroblog, too (; English). And Hungarian Spectrum has also followed up on the story of the Hungarian media law (; English).

[...] and Hungarian Spectrum (here and here) discuss Hungary's new media law. According to, “[u]nder this new law, a National Media and Communications Authority (NMHH) will be set up – a body that Reuters reports will be ‘dominated by people loyal to the ruling Fidesz party.' Members of this new authority (all appointed by the government) will oversee all media in Hungary – including group blogs – opening the door to politically motivated censorship.” [...]

Friedrich WeiszDecember 23rd, 2010 at 13:19

please support us with joining to this group on facebook. this group is against the Censorship in hungary

thank you!/pages/Egymillioan-a-magyar-sajtoszabadsagert/169854769717975

RonDecember 23rd, 2010 at 14:02

The future Hungarian EU Council Presidency has reacted to the matter on its blog:

Zensur in Ungarn: - AponautDecember 23rd, 2010 at 16:01

[...] Zensur zu schießen. Das erfordert Vernetzung und Kontakte. Erste Versuche werden zum Beispiel von unternommen.European Blog Action against Censorship in Hungary Veröffentlicht von [...]

[...] European Blog Action against Censorship in Hungary [...]

E.MartinezDecember 23rd, 2010 at 20:06

Support the case of freedom of press in Hungary!

If you support the case of freedom of press in Hungary – as well as all over the world – please join us, share this site and invite your friends too!

RonDecember 23rd, 2010 at 20:22

On the Economist’s “Eastern Approaches”: All eyes on Orbán

[...] We shouldn’t stay calm now! Join the protest and raise your voice! Europe’s bloggers are not going to accept that the EU Council will be presided over by a country acting against the fundamental rights of EU citizens. Such rank hypocrisy cannot go unchallenged. Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms of the EU is very clear about this: [...]

RonDecember 23rd, 2010 at 23:15

French uber-euroblogger Jean Quatremer now has also covered the story:à-la-république-soviétique-de-hongrie-.html

[...]’s campaign I became aware of the controversial new media law in Hungary that seems to introduce mechanisms [...]

VihargDecember 24th, 2010 at 7:34

?????????? ?? ?????????? ????????????

[...] ?????????? ?? ?????? ?? ?????????????? ??? ?????? [...]

RonDecember 24th, 2010 at 13:44

“Europas Blogger machen Front gegen ungarisches Mediengesetz”:

=> nice German summary of European bloggers’ reactions on our call for action

[...] möchte seinen Appell, sich zu engagieren, absolut unterstützen und weise auf die Aktion von hin, wo bereits kleine aber konkrete Maßnahmen für Netizens vorgeschlagen werden. Ich für meinen [...]

Héloïm SinclairDecember 26th, 2010 at 12:39

Good initiative, I’ve done an article, in French, on my blog to protest against this law and to mention your action.

ArgentinaDecember 26th, 2010 at 13:03

Hätte Ungarn vor 2004 diese Mediengesetze, hätte nie und zu keinem Zeitpunkt die Möglichkeit bestanden ein EU Mitgliedsland zu werden!

RonDecember 26th, 2010 at 16:12

Another reaction from Italy (in English):

/via @Elena2020

[...] music box here at ivory towers has been playing Hungarian Dances all week after we called for a European Blog Action against the Hungarian media law last Tuesday. We were hoping to transform the jangling discords of our future EU Council Presidency [...]

[...] No CommentsAnd it is a major problem:  Hungary’s new media launched a European Blog Action against Censorship in Hungary and also provides a good round-up of reactions and some background documents (just go through the [...]

Freiheit « Roberts BlogDecember 27th, 2010 at 0:19

[...] Kuhn ( ruft dazu auf,  Lübberdings Engagement zu unterstützen. Er weist auf die Aktion von hin, wo kleine aber konkrete Maßnahmen  vorgeschlagen werden. Johannes Kuhn will sich  an die [...]

Netzschau - webpoliticsDecember 27th, 2010 at 11:34

[...] nach der Weihnachtspause geht der Kampf gegen das neue ungarische Mediengesetz weiter. Das ruft zu gemeinsamen Aktionen gegen das neue Gesetz [...]

RonDecember 30th, 2010 at 1:50

The European Blog Action has been noticed in Slovak news

And, important to note, there are also critical remarks from Hungary on this blog action:

[...] » Das neue restriktive ungarische Mediengesetz und die Nichtreaktion der EU stehen in der Kritik » Aufruf an Blogger, auf die Probleme und Konsequenzen des neuen Gesetzes aufmerksam zu machen [...]

bernardDecember 30th, 2010 at 16:32

Herr Orban und seiner SA-Truppe duerfte nimals erlaubt werden, fuer ein halbes Jahr die EU-Regentschaft zu uebernehmen. Absolut undemokratisch, was sich in diesem Land nun abspielt. Sollte der neo-faschistische Trend noch weiter staerker werden, Ausschluss aus wichtigen EU-Gremien, einschraenkung der EU-Foerderung. Mit solchen Figuren macht man keine Deals, das weiss die Weltpolitik seit 1939 mehr als genug.

Take OutrageDecember 30th, 2010 at 22:47

I dont want this Government to chair European Union even temporary.
They can’t represent Europe
They cant represent European People

Take Outrage !!

János - a vioce from HungaryDecember 31st, 2010 at 9:42

Postsovietisation of Central Asian style combined with deep economic crisis and conflict-generating national ambitions in Central Europe. This is what we need to lead Europe?

[...] il bavaglio all’informazione, è scattata la mobilitazione della blogosfera euuropea. Da “Date voce alla critica nei vostri blog, su Twitter e Facebook. E inviate le vostre proteste [...]

[...] European Blog Action against Censorship in Hungary [...]

XingDecember 31st, 2010 at 15:54

Diesem Protest schließe ich mich an – als EU-Bürger aus Deutschland, der in Ungarn lebt und arbeitet und diese Möglichkeit bisher als sein persönliches Glück betrachtet hat.

Ungarn 2011 | STAR COMMAND CommuniquéJanuary 1st, 2011 at 9:03

[...] anzuschließen. Eine gute Möglichkeit ist die Aktion von, die zur “Europäischen Blog-Aktion gegen Zensur in Ungarn” aufrufen (nur in Englisch). Weitere [...]

[...] finally, “European blog action against censorship in Hungary”. Tags: EU Presidency, Hungary, Media, press freedom, Viktor Orban Topic: Government, Politics, [...]

Miklos_CzentheJanuary 2nd, 2011 at 3:05

Bisher wurden die ungarische Medien von den linke kontrolliert, mind 80%. Die meisten zB. die führende Zeitung Népszabadság stammen aus der Zeit der Parteidiktatur. Diese linke medienmacht hat die Korruption, die illegale Bereicherung von ehem. Kommunisten decken. Und diese linke Medien haben gute Kontakte zum Westen, deshalb hört man einseitige Nachtrichten aus Ungarn, die andere Seite wird nie gefragt. Vor 4 Jahren die Linksregierung hat mit Schlagstöcken Polizeigewalt gegen Oppositionelle gerichtet, und kaum Nachrichten kamen – wegen der LINKE MEDIENDIKTATUR

JamesJanuary 2nd, 2011 at 10:09

Been covered in Ireland’s leading political blog, Slugger O’Toole:

Rita HoranyiJanuary 2nd, 2011 at 12:12

Here is my brief bit on my blog. Just adding my voice to the general protest.

EurogoblinJanuary 2nd, 2011 at 18:03

Slugger O’Toole has got a link up –

NZtanJanuary 2nd, 2011 at 19:05

We ask everyone concerned about fundamental rights and free speech to black out its online presence on the 5th January 2011 for 24 hours.

PatriziaJanuary 2nd, 2011 at 19:45

Art.10 de la Convention européenne des droits de l’homme.”Toute personne a droit à la liberté d’expression,sans que l’ingérence des autorités publique puissent la menacer” C’est ce que fait le gouvernement hongrois qui piétine ce droit,comme le gouvernement berlusconi d’ailleurs.Le droit fondamental de l’homme à etre informé est violé.Il faut saisir la Cour Européenne pour qu’elle punisse ce viol.La situation italienne,avec Berlusconi,patron de Mediaset(3 chaines Tv) et de 2 chaines de la Tv publique(la Rai) est presque la meme.Il faut que ces gouvernements,qui ne savent meme pas d’etre en Europe soient sanctionnés

[...] Desde la plataforma de blogs europeos se impulsa una ciberacción contra la ley de prensa húngara Leer [...]

[...] E contro il bavaglio all’informazione, è scattata la mobilitazione della blogosfera euuropea. Da “Date voce alla critica nei vostri blog, su Twitter e Facebook. E inviate le vostre proteste [...]

Zoltán JókayJanuary 3rd, 2011 at 18:08

Let´s visit the Hungarian democracy at it´s bedside 3.01.2011´s-visit-the-hungarian-democracy-at-it´s-bedside-3-01-2011/

MihailJanuary 4th, 2011 at 4:21


[...] b?d? jednak w moim przekonaniu interwencje podejmowane przez samych internautów. Europejscy blogerzy organizuj? protest przeciwko w?gierskiej cenzurze. Protest zorganizowali równie? w?gierscy [...]

ConorJanuary 6th, 2011 at 0:59

Bloggingportal cannot tolerate racist and/or abusive comments on its editorial blog, and for this reason the above comment (by Mihail) has been deleted, and others like it will also be removed. In the interests of transparency, we will shortly produce a detailed comments policy.

[...] informazione locali e stranieri ma le manifestazioni di protesta sono ovunque e anche la rete si è mobilitata. Il quotidiano Népszabadság è uscito giorni fa, per protesta contro la nuova legge, con una [...]

[...] the meeting some weeks ago. You should know that we at the started a “European Blog Action against Censorship in Hungary“, so there was some interest in this topic on both [...]

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Network Support VirginiaMay 28th, 2011 at 22:15


It is good that you are calling for a European Blog Action against censorship.


Das Schweigen der EU « evil daystarJuly 27th, 2011 at 14:20

[...] Ich schließe mich diesem Protest an, und zitiere mal aus dem Original-Aufruf: [...]

[...] and social media influenced EU policy, maybe Citzalia (project dead, it appears), maybe through #NoToHuEU (the blog action against censorship in Hungary), maybe on SWIFT but for all these examples [...]

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