June 18th, 2013

Freedom House warns Hungary’s status as a “consolidated democracy” in jeopardy

US-based international democracy and rights watchdog Freedom House has just released the new edition of its annual “Nations in Transit” report, entitled “Authoritarian Aggression and the Pressures of Austerity.”

While warning of a broader, “troubling deterioration” of civil society in several countries in Central and Eastern Europe as well as Central Asia, Hungary came in for special mention due to alleged backsliding in several areas tracked by the group, which together could push the country out of the group of leading democracies in the region.

With downgrades in civil society and local democratic governance in 2012, Hungary’s overall democracy score is edging closer to the barrier between consolidated democracies and those classified as “semiconsolidated,” a category that includes Bulgaria, Romania, and the better performing Balkan states.

You can download the full report here, or read a country report on Hungary here.

Erik D'Amato (@erikdamato) is publisher and editor-in-chief of the All Hungary Media Group.
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  • Paul

    From the report:

    http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/nations-transit/2013/hungary

    “Even as the government has increased its influence over other public institutions, power within the government has been concentrated in the hands of the prime minister. Orbán tends to appoint weak or dependent figures, favoring personal loyalty and a lack of serious political ambitions over professional expertise and ability”.

    The most devastating part of the report however is the Chapter about
    corruption.

    Only one rational conclusion is possible, the Fidesz/Orban regime is
    politically corrupt.

    EU officials are expected to hold talks about Hungary at a summit in June.

    If they add all the other recent reports on top of this one….something
    drastic has to be done to stop this regime.

  • Paul

    About the corruption:
    “Approximately 1.4 trillion forints ($6.2 billion) is spent annually through public procurement procedures, and the lack of a database aggregating essential procurement information seriously limits research on how these funds are allocated.[59] Budapesti Corvinus University’s Corruption Research Center, financed with EU funds, has been working on the creation of such a database.

    One prominent beneficiary of public procurement spending is Közgép Zrt., which has won almost 300 billion forints ($1.33 billion) in state contracts since Fidesz took power in April 2010.[60] Either on its own or as part of a consortium, Közgép has undertaken projects ranging from road and railway construction to waste management facilities.[61] The company’s income increased by almost 50 percent between 2010 and 2011.[62]

    Közgép is owned by Lajos Simicska, a childhood friend of Orbán’s, a former financial director of Fidesz, and the president of the Tax Authority during the first Orbán government. He habitually avoids publicity, but many argue that the combination of his political ties and economic success makes him the most powerful “oligarch” in Hungary”.

  • Leto مؤدّب

    Blah. Freedom House… from the “land of the free”… :D What a good joke.

    A country where the president have the right to order the extrajudicial killing of any citizen considered a terrorist or an abettor of terrorism.

    A country where “terrorism suspects” are to be held by the military and the president also has the authority to indefinitely detain citizens accused of terrorism. Yeah, extrajudicially again.

    A country where the government have been trying to claim the right to strip citizens of legal protections based on its sole discretion for a good while.

    A country where the president may decide whether a person will receive a trial in the
    federal courts or in a military tribunal … er, kangoroo court.

    A country where may order warrantless surveillance, including a right to force private companies and organizations to turn over information on citizens’ finances, communications and associations. (Patriot Act). Obama has extended this power, including searches of everything from business documents to library records (!).

    A country where the state spies on each and every phone call (okay, that’s old news from 2006) and where it’s just turned out that the state spies on each and every e-mail, Skype-calls, Facebook-profile info, Google-stuff, all the websites, you name it.

    • Vidra

      That’s such a weak argument that even you can see that horse won’t run. Freedom House is not a puppet of the American state and I’m sure it has a lot of criticism of America too, if I could be bothered to look.

      You won’t get (or give) happy finishes from (and to) your favourite Fidesz member(s) with such a half-hearted defence. Thinking of transferring your skills to the Jobbik cause yet?

      • Leto مؤدّب

        Freedom House is a puppet of the American state and you yourself know that well, too, you rotten postcommie bastard.

        “London-based Financial Times has reported that Freedom House is one of several organizations selected by the U.S. State Department to receive funding for clandestine activities inside Iran. Some of its members were recently held by the Egyptian government for illegally transferring money received from the U.S. government to research the economy and the military of the country and send the information back to the U.S.

        In 2004, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul charged that Freedom House had used U.S. government money in the Ukraine to support the candidacy of a particular presidential candidate favored by the U.S. There have been allegations that Freedom House is a U.S. foreign policy instrument linked to the CIA. MIT Professor Emeritus Noam Chomsky has charged that Freedom House “has long served as a virtual propaganda arm of the (U.S) government and international right wing.”

        In 1979 Freedom House declared fair the election of apartheid president Ian Smith in Rhodesia and did the same during the 1980s for the elections of the right wing government in El Salvador that at the time was using death squads to murder its own citizens and to intimidate voters.”

        http://amcostaricaarchives.com/2012/03/freedom-house-is-not-an-independent-watchdog/

        • Paul

          “you rotten postcommie bastard”
          So, Leto…your ex-wife figured out you were part of the secret János Lázár Paedophile Network and divorced you.

          You disgusting degenerated scum.

          Evidence?…normally I do give evidence…in
          your case…why should I?…You never do.

          Just returning you the favour.

          Degenerated paedophile.

          Character assassination is so easy.

          • Leto مؤدّب

            You’d better explain to me at last how the fags killed by the Nazi contributed to the “struggle for democracy”, you disgusting weed-smoking Dutch fag.. :D

          • Paul

            “fags”????
            Stupid nazi……fags??
            Insulting 6 precent of the Hungarians?

            I do not use drugs…I am not gay.

            So, Leto…your ex-wife figured out you were part of the secret János Lázár Paedophile Network and divorced you.

            You disgusting degenerated scum.

            Evidence?…normally I do give evidence…in
            your case…why should I?…You never do.

            Just returning you the favour.

            Degenerated paedophile.

          • Leto مؤدّب

            Yeah, fags or faggots, weed-smoking Dutch fag. Or “buzi” in Hungarian.

            Why do you deny you’re a faggot? Your kind always preaches that’s a “progressive thing”, something to be proud of… Come clean, “come out of the closet”, you disgusting weed-smoking Dutch fag.

          • Paul

            Why do you deny you’re a faggot?

            I do not use drugs…I am not gay.

            Degenerated paedophile.

        • Vidra

          So Freedom House was doing pretty shady things some 30 years ago when Hungary’s communist leaders were torturing nuns, eating babies for breakfast and salting away bilions. Thirty years on, Freedom House is just as bad as ever while now in Hungary nuns can walk through District VIII at 2 am unmolested, babies dance on the Communists’ graves and Fidesz are creating billions in added value for the Hungarian economy.

          Get a grip boy, and I don’t mean on your own love-pole.

          • Leto مؤدّب

            That’s been a very pathetic and very irrelevant reply, rotten postcommie bastard.

          • Dr. Strange

            This is gibberish!

            Just accept it when you lose an argument, little boy.

        • MokusMan

          You really could have used a better citation than a letter to the editor which includes zero proof of the wide-ranging allegations it is making.

    • MokusMan

      So you didn’t even try to refute any of the claims the organization makes, you just wrote a multi-paragraph tirade against the country in which it’s based. That’s a pretty bad debating tactic.

      • Hungarian

        first of all why are these report coming from the US and not from Tanganyika? Who the hell is the US to judge the rest of the world.
        You liberals are going down on the wrong track!
        People are getting tired of seeing all these reports coming out of the US!

        • MokusMan

          The reason they don’t come from Tanganyika is because Tanganyika ceased to exist in 1962, when it united with Zanzibar to become Tanzania.

  • xyz

    Here are a few teasers to help to situate the “US-based democracy and rights watchdog” that is with complete ‘objectivity’ judges Hungary to be a threat to democracy, peace and freedom in Europe and in the world:

    The major wars the United States has fought since the surrender of Japan in 1945 — in Korea, Indochina, Iraq and Afghanistan — have produced colossal carnage. For most of them, we do not have an accurate sense of how many people died, but a conservative estimate is at least 6 million civilians and soldiers. This does not include smaller, but equally imperialistic wars, such as 1961 Cuba, 1965 Dominican Republic, 1983 Grenada and 1989 Panama.

    The great majority of world financial disasters, causing the suffering and death of billions of people, were caused by reckless American economic and banking policies, by good old American greed.

    Until just over a generation ago racial segregation was national policy in the US.

    In the relatively short history of the US, four US presidents were assassinated while in office, and there were fifteen attempted assassinations.

    The financial influence of powerful lobby groups and national and multinational corporations on the US election process and political life is well-known and well-documented.

    The greatest multinational surveillance and illegal data collection scheme by US secret services is just unfolding.
    As I said, these are only a few teasers. The actual picture would take volumes to describe.

    • MokusMan

      All true. And all have absolutely nothing to do with Hungary.

      • news guy

        .

  • Hungarian

    What I don’t understand is that they could have such a stressles healthy life in Israel, why do they need to stick around and play a cliff hanger in other people’s country all the time?
    Haven’t they learned anything during the centuries?
    What a slow learning people.

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