28 Freedom of Expression Organizations Release Statement in Support of CEU

April 26, 2017

Twenty-eight member groups of IFEX, the global network of organizations promoting and defending freedom of expression, have signed a statement in support of CEU. Signatories include the Hungarian Center for Independent Journalism, the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, ARTICLE 19 (headquarted in London), and other organizations from South Africa to the Pacific Islands. 

Ahead of the spring European Parliamentary session, these IFEX members urge EU officials to condemn recent amendments to Hungary's National Higher Education Act that threaten academic freedom and expression for the Central European University and in Hungary more broadly. 

The statement reads, in part,: 

For 25 years, the CEU has been an institution that fosters independent thought and critical debate in Hungarian society and beyond. This flagrant effort to shut down the school by manipulating existing laws is tantamount to silencing these voices. In this sense, it is also a deliberate attack on freedom of expression and information, which is strengthened by the existence of vibrant and independent academic institutions.

In light of this analysis as well as the upcoming European Parliamentary session in which the situation in Hungary will be debated, we urge the relevant EU authorities to condemn the passage of these amendments to the National Higher Education Act and encourage the Hungarian government to come to an agreement with the CEU that would allow them to continue to operate with their academic freedom and integrity intact. Moreover, EU officials should take note of the shrinking space for academic freedom and pursue all measures to ensure it is protected in Hungary and the wider region.