Investigative journalism website under scrutiny by the Hungarian police

By EDRi · October 5, 2011

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Deutsch: [Ungarische Polizei leitet Untersuchungen gegen investigativen Journalismus ein |]

The Hungarian police has put under investigation Tamás Bodoky,
editor-in-chief of the recently launched, a watchdog NGO and
online magazine for investigative journalism. The justification of the
police investigation was that Bodoky hadn’t revealed its
informants, which was considered perjury “or even aiding or abetting in
the crime of blackmailing”. is a watchdog website that was launched in July 2011 by Tamás
Bodoky with other journalists, lawyers, IT specialists and academics in an
attempt to fight corruption, to promote transparency (atlatszo is the
Hungarian word for transparency) and to develop and promote tools (called
“MagyarLeaks”) supporting anonymous whistle blowing.

The publication of a leaked document about an alleged hacker attack in 2010
on the database of Brokernet, Hungary’s leading independent financial
advisory group, resulted in a police witness hearing based upon the
Hungarian media law that came into effect on 1 January 2011 which says
that journalists are obliged to reveal the identity of their sources.

The hearing was also followed by the seizure of Bodoky’ hard drive.
The NGO believes that the Hungarian law, the European Convention on Human
Rights as well as the practice of the European Court of Human Rights protect
the right of journalists to keep their sources secret.

“If a source cannot be sure that his or her identity will not be revealed,
he or she will not inform the press about matters, which indeed belongs to
the public. This is a restriction of the freedom of the press, which should
be treated exceptionally carefully in a democratic society. Hungarian police
made no attempt to determine why is it “exceptionally justified” to force
the journalist to reveal its sources, although it is their legal obligation
according to Hungarian law” states filed a complaint against the investigation and the seizure but,
in August 2011, the Public Prosecution dismissed it. The motion is being now
processed by the Pest Central District Court of Justice and if the result is
unfavourable, is planning to take the case to Strasbourg.

MagyarLeaks: This Is A Test of the Hungarian Media Law (19.09.2011)

We did not reveal our sources – a hard disk was seized by Hungarian police

We did not reveal our sources – a hard disk was seized by hungarian police

EDRi-gram: New media law in Hungary allows Internet censorship (12.01.2011)