Opposition takes to streets in Hungary

Opposition takes to streets in Hungary

BUDAPEST - Agence France-Presse
Opposition takes to streets in Hungary

Thousand of people rally in support of Hungary’s opposition radio station Klubradio. REUTERS Photo

Around 10,000 people demonstrated Jan. 22 in the Hungarian capital in support of an opposition radio station which is being taken off the air by the powerful media authority, amid a showdown with the EU.

The protesters marched in Budapest carrying placards saying “Down with censorship.” Klubradio, which has some 400,000 listeners and is considered the country’s only opposition radio, is due to go off the air on March 1, after the media council, stacked with allies of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party, pulled its frequency late last year. Controversial laws setting up the media council drew international criticism over fears it might be used to gag the press. The European Commission wrote to Hungary last week to express new concerns about press freedom and pluralism, citing the disputed media laws and the case of Klubradio.

Jan. 22’s protest was organized by journalists at the radio station, demanding the right to continue broadcasting. Orban is expected to travel to Brussels today to meet Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso after the European executive launched legal action against Hungary over contested reforms of its judiciary, central bank and data protection authority. On Saturday, around 100,000 people attended a pro-Orban demonstration in Budapest.

Hungary, rights, opposition, EU, reforms