Madrid, 30 March 2020Access Info has expressed serious concerns about the sweeping powers granted to Hungary’s Prime Minister Victor Orbán in a parliamentary vote approving indefinite rule by decree and jail terms for spreading misinformation.

Access Info’s Director Helen Darbishire is one of the first signatories of a petition developed with MEPs, which is now open for all to sign.

The Coronavirus pandemic is being used as a pretext or another step towards undermining democracy and human rights in Hungary. This is something that the European Union and other Member States can neither ignore nor tolerate,” commented Helen Darbishire, Executive Director of Access Info Europe.

The petition calls on all EU Member States to ensure special protections for reinforced protections for civil society organisations and the media during the crisis. Parliaments must also be allowed to play their democratic oversight role.

The petition also calls on the European Union to take a clear stance against the misuse of the coronavirus crisis for power grabs by authoritarian governments, and for EU funds to Budapest to be distributed directly by the Commission while the Hungarian parliament is suspended.

It is absolutely essential to ensure the free flow of information and full government transparency at this crucial time when we are seeing the role data plays in decision making which has a direct impact on people’s lives,” added Darbishire.

For more information, please contact:

Helen Darbishire, Executive Director | Access Info Europe +34 637 226 609

Paula Domínguez, Communications Officer | Access Info Europe +34 637 226 609