HUNGARY: Petition to the European Ombudsman

Categorized as Alleged Conflict of Interest, Community Posts Tagged , ,

We’ve been contacted by a Hungarian filmmaker to inform us of a petition that was sent to the European Ombudsman to investigate the film industry in Hungary. The country has been under the grip of an ultra conservative and nationalistic right wing government for more than a decade, with corruption destroying every aspect of society, including the local film industry. Film Industry Watch receives such letters almost every day, from every country in the world, describing corruption and nepotism in practically every country, from the Nordic countries, all the way to Brazil and Argentina. Please keep sending us as much information as possible, including names and roles and individuals, so we can publish the information on the site.

A translation of the original Hungarian petition is below, with a link to the original post:

In recent decades, the state-owned film, media, and entertainment industry in Hungary has become monopolized.

Most leading professionals in the industry, regardless of their political beliefs, have become heavily reliant on state subsidies to continue their work. This reliance has come at the expense of generating market revenue, affecting various sectors including films, music, television, radio, theaters, newspapers, etc.

This situation has resulted in a dynamic where the industry is dominated by state support, with independent ventures struggling to survive. Independent investors are hesitant to fund Hungarian projects, and small-scale producers often avoid Hungarian productions entirely.

For instance, if a national film costs 100 million forints to produce, it may only generate about 10 million forints in return. This results in a profitability ratio of approximately -80 to -90 percent, indicating a significant loss for investors.

Such financial outcomes virtually eliminate the chances for Hungarian artists to succeed without state assistance. Moreover, state aid distribution is politically motivated, undermining professional judgment, independence, free competition, and equal opportunities within the media and entertainment sectors.

This environment also fosters abuses of power within state-supported institutions, where senior public artists can exploit their colleagues and subordinates with little consequence. Many such incidents go unreported for years, if not indefinitely.

We urge the Ombudsman and the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights to examine the competitive conditions for independent filmmakers, performers, theaters, and media producers in Hungary.

We also seek intervention from the European Court of Justice, as the rights of these groups have been severely compromised.

We call on the tax-paying citizens of Hungary to support our petition, as we are unable to challenge this situation on our own. The Hungarian government’s allocation of hundreds of billions of forints in taxes annually is destroying our professions and livelihoods.

There are two potential solutions:

  1. The Hungarian state could continue funding the media and entertainment industry with public funds but in a manner that is profitable and does not disadvantage those not receiving state support.
  2. The Hungarian government could cease funding the industry with public money, allowing for genuine competition to emerge.

It is unacceptable that a minority within the Hungarian media and entertainment industry monopolizes the sector, leading to its downfall, all while benefiting from the majority’s taxes. This situation is fundamentally unfair.

Moreover, we believe the funds currently allocated to the media and entertainment industry could be redirected to support vital public services, including healthcare and education, for the greater public good.


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