Press release: Petition of the Hungarian laureates of the "Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media" 2012

Petition to Dr. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, and Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of the Republic of Hungary

Leipzig, 9 October, 2012. With a petition against the increasing restriction of press freedom in their land, Hungarian journalists Balázs Nagy Navarro and Aranka Szávuly addressed to the German Chancellor and the Hungarian Prime Minister. Last Monday, both journalists were awarded the "Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media" of the Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig.

On the occasion of the upcoming meeting of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on this Thursday, Nagy Navarro and Szávuly request the German leader to take a decisive stand against the increasing restrictions of media freedom in Hungary.

In a spontaneous action during the award ceremony, the petition was signed by more than one hundred guests, including Maurice Gourdault-Montagne, ambassador of the French Republic in Germany, and Burkhard Jung, Lord Mayor of Leipzig. By also signing the petition, the citizens of Leipzig, who marked the beginning of the end of the East German regime with their large demonstrations exactly 23 years ago, showed their commitment for the press freedom in Hungary. During the opening of the Iron Curtain in 1989, especially Hungary had provided invaluable help to the freedom in Germany.

On the occasion of the traditional Peace Prayer and the Speech on Democracy, Martin Henker, superintendent of Leipzig's St. Nicholas Church, read the petition and appealed to the participants of the peace prayer to sign it. Within 24 hours, nearly 800 people signed the petition.

The petition in full:

Leipzig Petition for Press Freedom in Hungary

Petition to Dr. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, and Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of the Republic of Hungary

On the occasion of the anniversary of the Peaceful Revolution in East Germany and the award of the "Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media" of the Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig, we, the signers of this petition, would like to request you urgently to stand up for the media freedom in Hungary. Its increasing erosion is not acceptable.

Our protest and our request rely on central aspects of universal human rights as well as the European Charter for Press and Media Freedom.

According to this, press freedom and independent journalism are essential for a democratic society. Therefore, we decisively condemn governmental interventions in the freedom of Hungarian media. Particularly public media are affected by these interventions. The Hungarian government must not restrict the right of freedom of expression of journalists and media.

The Hungarian state has to ensure, that the media enjoy the full protection of an independent legal system, of laws and of authorities in order to fulfil their tasks.

Press freedom is one of the non-negotiable democratic values on which the European Union is based. In commemoration of the opening of the Iron Curtain in Hungary and the large demonstrations in Leipzig of 1989 we ask you to recognize and defend this value.

Leipzig, 8 October, 2012

PDF German: Pressemitteilung zur Leipziger Petition für Pressefreiheit in Ungarn

PDF English: Press release: Petition of the Hungarian laureates of the “Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media” 2012