On 13 June, after two postponed votes, the Hungarian Parliament will vote the Law on the Transparency of Foreign Funded Organisations. The law is in breach of Hungary’s Basic Law and many other international treaties ratified by Hungary because it unjustifiably restricts the right to freedom of association and freedom of expression and it also fail to address the major concerns of the Venice Commission..
The law is unnecessary, because Hungarian CSOs are already transparent in their operations, provide accurate information about their donors and finances in annual reports and carry out their activities before the public. Stigmatising, because the law implies that organisations which work for the benefit of Hungarian society by receiving foreign grants for their work pose a threat to the country. Harmful, because it undermines mutual trust in society and questions the right to freedom of expression.
There is reason to fear that the law will not stop the governmental campaign to denounce Hungarian civil society organisations. On the contrary, this is a new step in a longer process that aims at fully discrediting CSOs. However, there can be no real democracy and civil liberties without independent and critical thinking and a strong civil society.
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