Public Service Media Fund wants billion HUF contracts classified
In September 2011 atlatszo.hu went to court against the Hungarian Media Service Support and Asset Management Fund (MTVA) to request contracts related to the sale of the bulidings of the National Television. MTVA had previously refused to hand out these contracts on our request, but agreed to show them us if we signed a confidentiality agreement, what we refused. At the first trial MTVA’s defense lawyer brought a wide range of excuses for not making the contracts public: claiming that they are trade secrets, that it would be a national security hazard to make these documents public, etc.
At the second trial the case took an interesting turn: MTVA presented a letter in which – 6 months after the contracts were signed – they were asking László Balajti, the head of National Security (Alkotmányvédelmi Hivatal) to classify the documents we requested. This move produced a rather strange situation: if the contracts really represent state secret, the state owned company actually risked national security by offering us, journalists an opportunity to look at the contracts. However, the most outrageous point of the second trial was when the defense lawyer asked the judge to forbid atlatszo.hu to publish the minutes and other related documents of the trial. Fortunately the judge refused this request, so we did publish these documents.
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