articleimg-1
Jan 16, 2017

PM Orbán: Interests of NGOs must be made public

The Hungarian government has said there must be transparency of civil society organizations and everyone has the right to know who is trying to influence public discourse

The Hungarian government has said there must be transparency of civil society organizations and everyone has the right to find out who wants to influence their opinion from within Hungary or abroad, or as to whether they have a political agenda.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said there must be a system made available to the Hungarian public to find out about every participant in public life: their identity and their sources of funding.

On Kossuth Rádió’s 180 Minutes program, the prime minister said that in the world we live in, attempts at influencing public discourse and politics in other states has become a common occurrence and is practised by many countries.

The government is considering new legislation that will require NGO leaders to declare their assets, affiliations and interests, which is modelled on already existing rgulations in Israel to regulate civil society.

According to comments made by János Lázár, the minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office, there are at present no regulations of this kind with respect to non-governmental organizations, despite the fact that they form part of public life.

Minister Lázár indicated that the Justice Ministry will prepare a balanced proposal which will equally apply to everyone. However, there is at present a debate about a non-existent proposal. The government does not want to "clear anyone out of the way," he stressed.

Lázár also addressed statements made by government-party politicians regarding the organizations and asked members of the press to manifest some empathy towards his fellow-politicians who responded to foreign attempts to manipulate public opinion with a degree of sensitivity.

Lázár pointed out: it is evident that half a million illegal immigrants were organized to approach the Hungarian border with foreign assistance.

According to a schedule of planned legislation on the parliamentary website, lawmakers are set to vote on extending mandatory declarations of assets to executives of NGOs.