Hungarians Protest Against Leaked Spy Scandal

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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy

(Worthy News) – Hungarians Protest Against Leaked Spy Scandal

By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent

BUDAPEST (Worthy News)— Hungarians have demonstrated against the reported spying by the government of hundreds of Hungarians, including critical journalists, lawyers, activists, and other public figures.

Monday’s rally of some 1,000 protestors came after a global journalism investigation showed Hungary was among nations using ‘Pegasus’ spyware from -based surveillance company NSO Group.

Demonstrators gathered at the House of Terror Museum in the capital, Budapest, which commemorates victims of Nazism and Communism. From there, they marched to the headquarters of the governing Fidesz party.

Some called Hungary’s autocratic Prime Minister Viktor Orbán a “Victator.”

Miklós Hajnal, a member of the opposition Momentum party, which organized the protest, described the Pegasus case as “the biggest scandal in Hungary” since its transition to democracy in 1990.

“This is not acceptable in a country where people know how the socialist regime used to work,” he said. “There is a reason for the existence of services, but it cannot simply be to cling to power.”

In Hungary, which communists ruled for four decades after World Two, the minister of justice, a close Orbán-supporter, approves surveillance in national security matters.

The investigation by 17 organizations suggested that Hungarian authorities infected cellphones to spy on perceived government opponents.

However, a meeting of parliament’s national security committee over the Pegasus spyware was abandoned Monday.

The scheduled gathering behind closed doors failed to reach the necessary quorum as deputies of Hungary’s ruling parties stayed away, legislators said.

Socialist legislator Zsolt Molnár said their absence was “confirmation that they have something to hide.” “Truth cannot be obliterated by technical moves such as rendering a committee meeting invalid,” Molnár stressed. Referring to next year’s elections, he added that “a definitive solution could be achieved in spring 2022”.

Hungary’s government has denied wrongdoing, saying the allegations are false. Critics view the spying controversy as part of a broader crackdown on media in Hungary.

Media advocates say that since Viktor Orbán became prime minister in 2010, Hungary fell from 23rd to 92nd in the World Press Freedom Index. The Reporters Without Borders group put Orbán on its Enemies of Press Freedom list, the first time a European Union leader was mentioned.

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