Irene Kahn, the United Nations expert on the protection of freedom of speech and freedom of expression, has recently visited Hungary to conduct a report about the country’s current situation concerning her area of expertise.
According to Euronews, Irene Khan has met several government institutions, civil rights organisations, news journalists, scientists, and activists fighting against discrimination and violence towards those with gender issues. Irene Khan will finalise her report to the United Nations’ Human Rights Council in June 2022, but she has already shared some of her findings on the Internet.
“The interferences from the Hungarian Government in the past decade into the media sector, the hatred incited by politics and the ‘toxic environment’ they have created could pose a serious threat to the upcoming elections” – Irene highlighted at the end of her visit to Hungary.
According to Telex, Irene Khan has warned the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and its principal institution, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), to keep close attention on the Hungarian media before the 2022 elections. According to Khan, the “Government tried to stifle differing opinions, undermine the credibility of civil society and weaken the protection of human rights”. Khan said that the Hungarian Government used political decisions and measures to interfere with the media and the information flow.
“There should be no monopoly of information in a democracy.” – Khan said.
The rapporteur also raised her voice about the ongoing hate-mongering against migrants as well as against journalists and right defenders who support asylum seekers and members of the LGBTQ community.
Euronews reported that Irene Khan asked Hungarian authorities to grant editorial freedom and freedom to access information sources. She also asked them to pay more attention to the independence of regulating bodies and the distortions of the media outlets.
Irene Khan proposed that the political parties should have equal access to news channels during the election. In this way, voters would find it easier to access information about the different campaigns of each parties.
Source: Telex.hu, Euronews