Fidesz has officially proposed an anticipated bill which appears designed to crack down on NGOs in Hungary. Earlier this week, we reported that 444.hu had obtained a leak of the bill. The official bill contains the same provisions as those listed in the leaked version.
According to the bill,
- civil organizations and foundations must register with authorities within 15 days of meeting the annual foreign funding threshold of HUF 7.2 million. The organizations must itemize each such transaction for the authorities.
- this information would be made public on the government-operated Civil Information Portal.
- the organizations must immediately report on their website (or anything they publish) that according to Hungarian law, they are recognized as a foreign-funded organization.
- applicable organizations that do not identify themselves as foreign-funded will be fined. If they refuse to abide by the law, prosecutors can remove the organization from Hungary’s corporate registry.
- organizations can only be de-listed as foreign-funded organizations after five consecutive years of receiving less than the annual HUF 7.2 million threshold.
- churches and religious organizations are exempt from having to register as foreign-funded organizations.
Critics of the bill have argued that such measures would only serve to stigmatize and bolster distrust of NGOs. Politics Can Be Different (LMP) co-chair Ákos Hadházy has likened the conditions of the bill to “yellow stars” that would identify organizations critical of the government.