Although the Law on the transparency of organizations receiving funds from abroad carried by the Hungarian parliament might appear benign, it is quite dangerous. The parliament claims that the title of the law sends the message that it is aimed at increasing transparency whereas authorities claim that it is vital in the fight against money laundering and international terrorism. This new law is another attempt to silence critical voices. “We must repress these NGOs with all available tools, and I think, they should be swept up.”, said Szilard Nemeth, who is one of the MPs who later submitted this proposal back in January.
Unfortunately, the law is a masked attempt to stigmatize non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive foreign funding to do their vital work. Not only will the new law force NGOs that receive more than 24,000 EUR per year to re-register as “civic organization funded from abroad,” but also they will have to put this scornful label on every written work they publish. The claim behind this is obviously that NGOs funded from abroad may be serving foreign interests “endangering the sovereignty and national security of Hungary,” as the authorities have announced. However, NGOs will not stand still, as this disguised assault on civil society will be resisted on all levels.