———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Mázsa Péter [...]
Subject: Freedom of speech in Hungary as of 21st December 2010
Cc: Philip Barker [...],
Dear Mr. Hu Jintao,
We are writing this letter to you not to address you in your role as
the Chinese Premiere, but to address you as if one private individual
were speaking to another.
We would like to purchase your website, which can be found at the
following address http://blog.hu.com .
Please allow us to explain this request.
You have no doubt heard that the government of the United States has
changed its stance on the freedom of the web since the well-known
information network, http://wikileaks.org , helped people discover new
facts and call for more accountability.
The US government’s previous stance, which was enumerated by Secretary
of State Hillary Clinton in a landmark speech about internet freedom
on 21 January 2010, sounded something like this: “Even in
authoritarian countries, information networks are helping people
discover new facts and making governments more accountable.”
“Given what we now know, that Clinton speech reads like a satirical
However, you may be unaware what has been happening to the freedom of
speech in the European Union over the past year or so.
The official stances of both the People’s Republic of China and the EU
are very similar:
- “Article 35. Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy
freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of
procession and of demonstration.” Constitution
- “Article 11. 1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression.
This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and
impart information and ideas without interference by public authority
and regardless of frontiers. 2. The freedom and pluralism of the media
shall be respected.” Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European
However, the void between this declaration and the reality of the
situation is huge.
As we are requesting your assistance, please allow us to direct your
attention to the contraventions of the Charter of Fundamental Rights
of the European Union, as oppossed to the normal discussions of
contraventions of human rights in China.
From the beginnning of next year Hungary will hold the EU’s rotating
presidency http://www.eu2011.hu .
So far, the next holder of the EU’s rotating presidency has:
- implicitly expressed support for the pro-Nazi Hungarian government
of 1944 through the Declaration of National Cooperation, signed on
29th May 2010 ( cf. http://amexrap.org/fal/kedves-tibor in Hungarian)
- levied a 98% tax on certain incomes as of 16th November 2010,
backdatable six years. This has in effect suspended the rule of law in
the country ( http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBUD00558120101108 ),
- radically limited the scope of constitutional supervision in the
country, effectively suspending what was a constitutional democratic
- following this, on 13th December 2010, by referring to common
national goals, the government passed a law that legalized the
“nationalization” or state appropriation of the private pension
savings of one third of the Hungarian population (
On this day, 21st December 2010 the incumbent president of the EU has
approved a new media law which:
- provides the National Media and Communications Authority’s Media
Council with the authority to impose fines on private newspapers,
websites, broadcasters, and other content providers that have violated
press rules on “balanced” coverage as well as immoral reporting (such
as content involving sex, violence, and alcohol). Fines could be as
much as $950,000 for radio and television stations, $120,000 for daily
newspapers and “internet media news products” (e.g. blogs). Internet
media news products could also be suspended or shut down.
- “Of particular concern is the wording of the supposed ‘violations’
which is very is broad, creating an environment conducive to
The EU and its Member States are shamefully tolerating this violation
of the rule of law and freedom of expression as perpetrated by the
holder of the 2011 rotating presidency.
This is why we are writing to you. The address http://blog.hu is the
site of a popular blog service in Hungary. We would like to reproduce
the contents of this service at the address http://blog.hu.com , which
is currently in your possession. Our wish is to make it possible to
publish information at the aforementioned address anonymously, so that
Hungarians may defy a repressive media law and be free to exercise
their right to the freedom of expression without fear of reprisal.
If, however, you wish to maintain your ownership rights for
http://blog.hu.com , we would be more than grateful if you could
provide us with a website that would allow us to publish freely and
In drawing our letter to a close we would like to wish you and all the
citizens of the Chinese State a Happy New Year by citing the words of
“To study and to practice, it is is a joy, isn’t it? When friends come
from afar, it is a pleasure, isn’t it? If one remains unknown and
isn’t hurt, isn’t one an honorable man?”