On Saturday, January 22nd, a large protest was held in Budapest called “Ode to Joy,” to preserve Hungary’s tradition of freedom of speech and traditional appreciation of arts and culture – which many people fear is being lost under rule of the current government. Approximately 30 artists performed at the rally.
Among the rally’s lead organizers was Peter Molnar, a co-founder of the Fidesz party (back when it was liberal), and a free speech scholar. In the near future, Hungarian Watch will release an extensive interview with Molnar. To whet your appetite, please read the text of the powerful speech Molnar gave at this rally:
Freedom of speech and freedom of the press is a fundamental part of the Hungarian cultural tradition. Art, as an especially free form of expression played a great role in creating this legacy and it has to take part in preserving it as well. As artists, we are convinced that we also have to raise our voices for freedom of speech, many of us, together, regardless of the differences in the way we see the world.
A regulation that provides opportunity for arbitrary and fully disproportionate limitations of the press, already by the possibility of the punishments has a chilling effect on public discourse, that infringes upon the freedom of art and any other form of speech. We wish to have a law that respects freedom of the press, of speech and of art, also as our historic heritage.
To see more photos of the rally, click here.