The world’s leading media freedom organisations have voiced support for Vice President of the European Commission Vera Jourova, following attacks against her by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his government.
Jourova gave an interview with Der Spiegel on 25 September 2020 during which, based on facts, data, and research, she aid “Mr Orban says often he builds and illiberal democracy. I would say he builds a sick democracy.”
Following her comments, the Hungarian government called for her resignation saying her comments were “inappropriate and unacceptable” and a “blatant violation of the principle of cooperation.” They said her resignation was “indespensible” and her comments are “incompatible with her current mandate”.
A spokesperson for the commission said that she njoyes the full confidence of President Ursual von der Leyen and all EC leaders.
The Hungarian government has also said it will suspend any contact with the EC until the matter is resolved.
“These statements are not only a direct political attack on the democratically elected govenment of Hungary, but also a humiliation for Hungary and the Hungarian people,” Orban added in his letter of complaint to the EC.
The media organisations including the ECMPF, ARTICLE 19, EFJ, CPJ, IPI, RSF, SEEMO, Transparency International and The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation have urged the EC to take strong action to address “the severe deterioration of the rule of law and media pluralism in Hungary”.
They said that the issues Jourova referred to are well documented and echo warnings by civil society, research conducted by international orgnaisations, and the European Parliaments decision to launch the Article 7 procedure.
They urged the EC to take immediate action regarding both the treatment of Jourova and the Article 7 procedure which they say has not progressed.