This post originally appeared on the Open Knowledge blog.
The Hungarian government has started to target transparency and humanitarian NGOs.
The political climate in Hungary has been deteriorating sharply since the re-election of the government led by Viktor Orban. The latest indication of a harsher political environment is the harassment of humanitarian and transparency NGOs. The Hungarian government accuses the targeted NGOs to be connection to the opposition and to be under foreign influence on the basis that the NGOs in question received funds from the Norwegian civil society fund. Among the organisations are transparency NGOs, such as K-Monitor and Atlatszo – documenting and investigating corruption cases in Hungary. Open Knowledge maintains close contact and collaborations with K-Monitor including but not limited to the Stop Secret Contracts campaign and the School of Data.
Open Knowledge stands in solidarity with Hungarian civil society and NGOs. The selection and intimidation towards NGOs that act to increase transparency of the government is damaging to civil society and a healthy democracy. Independent civil society organisations are a key to hold up the checks and balances necessary in a democratic state. We urge the Hungarian government to stop the targeted harassment of NGOs immediately.
K-Monitor’s work on investigating corruption is important and aligned with many Open Knowledge activities around transparency, accountability, and anti-corruption. Open government information combined with an enabling environment for civil society is vital for accountability. Open information about public finances, budgets, spending and contracts is important and helps citizens understand what their government does. Among others K-Monitor collects public procurement data to help citizens understand what their government spends their money on.
If you are interested in this topic, join our global campaign to stop secret government contracting and secure critical open information to support NGOs like K-monitor in their work. (K-Monitor is a member of the StopSecretContracts.org coalition.)