Since 2010, President Orban’s populist government in Hungary has increasingly adopted authoritarian measures and rigorously pursued soft forms of repression. Freemuse has been documenting the incremental changes introduced by the government undermining freedom of expression (including the centralization of power over the media) as well the measures taken to limit the right to artistic expression. In Freemuse’s latest report on the State of Artistic Freedom 2020, the use of various measures to pressure potentially critical voices into censorship to stifle freedom of expression whilst systematically dismantling the rule of law has been documented. Most of these reforms and democratic backsliding have been premised on the notion that Constitutions should serve national interests.
There are growing concerns that the COVID-19 crisis is being used as a pretext for further restrictions and as a smokescreen for anti-democratic activities and the stifling of active civil society. Freemuse has therefore added its name to an open letter to the Presidents of the EU Commission and Council drawing attention to this serious situation and calling for the condemning of the erosion of these democratic values.
As part of its Europe project funded by the Swedish Postcode Foundation, Freemuse is closely monitoring violations of artistic freedom in Europe, including the backlash on artistic freedom as a result of undue and illegitimate government influence in this pandemic crisis.
Read more on the Europe Project and the Freemuse Report on the State of Artistic Freedom here.