Lázár’s secret trips abroad to remain secret forever

May 18, 2016

.gif source: 444.hu
.gif source: 444.hu

“It is now almost certain that we will never find out who János Lázár met with during his secret trips to Milan and Zurich. The Curia has upheld a [lower court’s] ruling which held that details of Lázár’s meetings are not in the public interest, despite Lázár himself stating that he was representing the country,” writes investigative news site Direkt36 on their Facebook page.

And so closes yet another chapter in Hungarian media history.

In June 2014, protests erupted in Budapest as the government began to clamp down on civil society and the media. Hungarians took to the streets to protest against the government campaign to intimidate and humiliate NGOs funded by the Norway Grants. But they also took to the streets to demand that the government leave the media alone after it became public that Gergő Sáling, the editor-in-chief of online daily Origo.hu, left after the government pressured its owner, Magyar Telekon (owned by Deutsche Telekom), to suppress an investigation conducted by investigative journalist András Pethő.

Magyar Telekon subsequently sold the online daily to a Fidesz-linked media company.

Pethő and nine other journalists resigned in protest over Sáling’s departure from the online daily.  Pethő and Sáling went on to launch online investigative journalism website Direkt36.hu.

Since the fiasco broke out in 2014, Pethő has continued pressing the Hungarian government to release information related to Minister Overseeing the Prime Minister’s Office Lázár’s trip, but – due to the unpredictable nature of the Hungarian courts – he has been unable to secure more information. The Curia’s recent decision will see to it that the sensitive information about Lázár’s secretive trips remain out of the public’s eye.