At the end of a long and arduous lawsuit filed by Telex and the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, the Curia High Court ruled in a final judgment earlier in the week that the Ministry of Human Resources (EMMI) did not have the right to ban the press from state hospitals, with the exception of state news agency MTI. Only hospital directors have the authority to do so, the court found.
In theory, the media should now be able to do its duty and freely report on the state of Hungary’s hospitals from the inside. However, 24.hu spotted a decree by the Prime Minister on Friday that grants the Covid Task Force the right to admit or exclude the press from hospitals.
As published in the Official Gazette, Government Decree 33/2022 on certain emergency rules for the operating procedures of health care institutions states:
In the interest of epidemiology, the Task Force may determine procedures for how healthcare institutions maintain contact with journalists, correspondents, internet news distributors, and producers of media products (hereinafter jointly: the press), as well as procedures for entry to the grounds of healthcare institutions by the press.
The head of the health care institution will then be responsible for implementing the Task Force’s decision.