In recent years, Hungarian NGOs, especially those critical of or countering the ideology of the government (including transparency and human rights groups), have been subjected to defamatory attempts by the government or media closely linked to the government. Now, members of the government have started questioning the credibility and hindering the independent financing of autonomous civil organizations.
As part of an agreement with the EU and several of its member states, the Norway Financial Mechanism funds projects in less-developed European countries. The Hungarian government has accused Norway of trying to influence Hungarian politics. Despite Norway’s denial of these accusations, the government announced the blacklisting of independent Hungarian civil organizations that have received this funding on the basis of their alleged political affiliation.
In light of these attacks on civil society organizations in Hungary, Sunlight, in solidarity with civil society organizations around the globe, has chosen to publish the statement below:
Stop Targeting Hungarian NGOs!
Since its re-election, the Hungarian government launched a campaign attacking the credibility of Hungarian NGOs and is striving to gain control over their funding distributed independently from the government. We believe that a dynamic and independent civil society plays a fundamental role in a democratic society, as it is one of the key checks and balances to governing power. As demonstrated by Putin’s Russia, the harassment of the civil sector could easily lead to the criminalization of NGOs and could effectively hinder their work. We stand in solidarity with the Hungarian NGOs and call on the Hungarian and all other governments to refrain from harassing civil society!