Leading internet portal Index.hu has been banned from parliament following the publication of a video titled “Merry Christmas, Hungarian Democracy!”, which included at the ninth minute two reporters singing a mocking song about the government and parliament’s work over the previous year.
What remains unclear is if the song’s lyrics or if the behavior of the reporters (dancing around the halls of parliament) was what led to Parliamentary Speaker László Köver banning the portal from the building, for “not treating parliament with respect.” The parliament’s press office said that the portal can return once it provides guarantees to Köver that its reporters would behave in a respectful manner.
The incident occurs as the government is facing renewed scrutiny over its commitment to press freedoms, with news on Wednesday of that the Media Council had decided to reassign the frequency of Klubrádió, a radio station seen as opposition-friendly.
Daily Népszabadság tried to gain clarifications on what guarantees Index would need to provide Köver but had yet to receive a response. For its part the portal stated that they have asked to have the matter resolved as soon as possible so that they can resume their parliamentary coverage. [nol.hu/index.hu]