As Parliament prepares to discuss a bill that would require executives of NGOs to declare their assets annually, a left-wing columnist accuses the government of trying to silence its critics. A pro-government commentator, on the other hand, thinks the proposed legislation will promote transparency.
On Tuesday, Fidesz Vice-Chairman Szilárd Németh announced plans to introduce mandatory assets declarations for NGO executives in order to increase transparency. Németh said that “the pseudo-NGOs of the Soros empire are being used to impose the interests of global capital and a politically correct worldview on national governments”. As an example, the Fidesz Vice-President mentioned that NGOs harshly attacked the government’s measures against illegal migration. He added that “these NGOs must be resisted using all available tools and must be swept out”, noting that the international environment is now favourable to such an approach, after Donald Trump’s electoral victory.
In Népszava, Róbert Friss interprets the plans as an indication that Fidesz wants to increase the pressure on NGOs critical of the government. The left-wing columnist finds it peculiar that while the authorities support pro-government civil organizations, it wants to silence critical NGOs. Friss suggests that the announced plan imperils basic democratic norms, and complains that Europe is unlikely to stop its introduction.
Magyar Hírlap’s Ottó Nagy welcomes the government’s plans to require a declaration of assets from NGO leaders. The pro-government columnist believes that this will increase the transparency of NGOs. Nagy suspects that the new regulations could reveal that NGOs financed by the liberal, Hungarian-born philanthropist George Soros serve the political aims of their donors rather than their professed humanitarian purposes and civil rights.