Democracy and rights
Developments in Hungary since 2010 have
raised concerns around the world that democracy is being
eroded. Freedom of speech and press are enshrined in the
constitution, but the government has strengthened its
control over both the judiciary and education as well as
Although a parliamentary state with democratic
elections has replaced a communist dictatorship that
ruled Hungary until 1989, the country has witnessed a
development where the government has become increasingly
authoritarian. Under the leadership of the Fidesz Party,
Hungary has adopted a policy of resistance to all forms
of immigration. But not only the government's views, but
also its actions - in many areas of society - raise
Offers a comprehensive list of airports in Hungary, including international airports with city located, size and abbreviation, as well as the biggest airlines.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has, with reference to
the corona pandemic, acquired the right to govern by
decree, indefinitely (see Calendar).
Penalty tax has been introduced for organizations
that help immigrants. The UN considers that the areas in
Hungary where asylum seekers are allowed to stay in some
respects function as detention camps (see Calendar).
Anti-Semitic outcomes have characterized a campaign
the government has run against the Hungarian-born Jewish
investor and philanthropist George Soros, who has
sponsored a prestigious university in Budapest (see
The government has abolished science disciplines that
it disapproves of, taken control of the research and
carried out campaigns against individual researchers
The government has also had plans to overhaul the
judicial system and do so instead of the government, but
those plans have been scrapped after much criticism,
inside and outside the country. On the other hand, the
opportunities for opposition parties to operate have
been circumvented by new laws (see Calendar).
According to Amnesty International, violence against
women often passes without legal recourse. Hungary, for
example, has not adopted the Council of Europe
Convention on the Prevention and Control of Violence
against Women and Domestic Violence.
Native Roma are discriminated against, among others
in school, healthcare and the housing and labor market,
which has led to harsh criticism from human rights
organizations and the EU.
The organization Transparency International gave
Hungary the position 70 of 180 countries in its review
of corruption in the world in 2019, see list here. It
was a significant deterioration. Suspicions of Hungarian
cheating with support money from the EU belong to what,
according to EU parliamentarians, is not handled well
Freedom of expression and media
A media law adopted in 2010 received stinging
criticism from, among others, the EU. Although changes
have been made since then, media freedom and diversity
has continued to be limited. Part of the criticism is
that the State Media Council does not represent
different parties and groups, but consists of
government-loyal members appointed by the parliamentary
majority. The Media Council nominates heads of
state-owned media and controls the content of the media.
The council can impose high fines, journalists can be
sentenced for defamation and it is common for
politicians to make reports of slander.
The opportunities for journalists and others to
access public documents have been limited. Media market
scrutiny and diversity are also threatened by public
authorities and other public agencies advertising in
state-owned media or private government-friendly media
companies at the expense of independent and opposition
media. Investigative journalism, with revelations of,
among other things, mutiny, has largely moved to the
Internet. A site with the address atlatszo.hu revealed
in 2019 that the government spent more than 30 million
euros of taxpayers' money on a criticized poster
campaign directed at EU Commission President Jean-Claude
Juncker and patron George Soros.
In Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Ranking
2020, Hungary was placed 89, see list here. Developments
in recent years have been in the direction of issuing
proof of government-friendly interests. The media is
often used to dirty the political opposition.
Independent Népszabadság, formerly the Socialist Party's
spokesman, was one of the country's largest daily
newspapers until it was abruptly closed in 2016. When
the owner Mediaworks was shortly thereafter purchased by
a company linked to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, many
felt that political reasons were behind the closure. In
2018, a significant portion of the privately-owned
government-friendly media gathered in an organization
called the Central European Press and Media Council (Közép-Európai
Sajtó és Média Alapítvány, abbreviated Kesma).
In the mid-1990s, the state TV and radio monopoly was
abolished and private companies started. This led to
about 200 new radio channels and almost 500 TV channels.
But the public service offering is today
government-friendly and the state TV channels for the
fight against commercial channels.
State radio broadcasts in English, German, Romanian,
Slovak and Russian, among others.
A Roman channel, Dikh TV, was launched via Youtube
2015 and is broadcast in 2019 on cable TV networks. Dikh
("Watch" in Romanian) has been able to expand and become
more professional thanks to the support of a Romanian
Judicial system and legal security
In the Fidesz-dominated parliament, several laws have
been passed that give the government control over the
A central judicial authority has been created, whose
chief is appointed by a two-thirds majority in
parliament on a nine-year term. The manager has the
right to move judges and decide which judge should
address a particular case.
The Constitutional Court, established in 1990, is to
ensure that new laws do not violate the Constitution or
the rights of citizens. But the government parties have
increased the number of judges in the Constitutional
Court and appointed party lawyers - by the middle of the
2010s, 11 out of 15 judges were appointed by the
government parties. The Court has also been deprived of
the right to review amendments to the Constitution and
to comment on laws that may affect the state budget.
Laws previously rejected by the Constitutional Court
have nevertheless been implemented by being granted
constitutional status and passed by a two-thirds
majority in Parliament.
In 2018, Parliament adopted a proposal from the
government to set up new administrative courts (where,
for example, building permits or tax cases are decided).
The administrative rights would be directly subject to
the government. But there, in November 2019, the
government backtracked after the reform was scolded for
notes. The criticism came from, among other things,
legal expertise of the Venice Commission within the
Council of Europe.
Trials are public unless otherwise provided by law.
The defendants' right to defendants is constitutional.
The judiciary has been criticized for long detention
times and slow processes. Prison services are in turn
criticized for overcrowded prisons.
The death penalty was abolished in 1990, but Viktor
Orbán, as Prime Minister, has stated to reintroduce it.