Hungarian parliament
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán speaks at the Hungarian parliament on September 25, 2023, in Budapest. A bill creating the Sovereignty Protection Office, which local media outlets warned could stifle independent journalism, was enacted in December 2023. (Photo: AFP/Attila Kisbenedek)

CPJ, others express solidarity with journalists, NGOs targeted by Hungary’s Russian-style Sovereignty Protection Office

Berlin, June 28, 2024—The Committee to Protect Journalists joined nine international press freedom and human rights organizations in expressing solidarity with NGOs Transparency International Hungary and Átlátszó, which Hungary authorities have targeted with investigations.

The joint statement urged the European Commission and EU Member States to take immediate and decisive action to protect NGOs and independent journalists in Hungary.

On June 26, Hungary’s Sovereignty Protection Office announced that it had  launched an investigation into the Hungarian branch of the anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International and Átlátszó, an investigative journalism outlet that focuses on corruption. The office was established last year as a government authority with broad powers to investigate foreign interference in public life.

The bill creating the office “bears the hallmarks of a Russian-style foreign agent law” and it “could bring a new level of state-sanctioned pressure and chill independent reporting,” CPJ said in a statement last year.

Read the full statement of solidarity here.

Disclaimer: CPJ’s Europe representative Atilla Mong is a former investigative journalist for Átlátszó, currently serving as a member of its supervisory board.