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Hungarian Woman Fined for Facebook Post About State Spending

The local government of Tata, a town in Hungary, has filed a lawsuit against a resident because she shared a Facebook post that questioned government spending.

According to news site, the original post alleged that the local government had sold a piece of property, but then later paid high rents for the same building, suggesting possible collusion between the government and the property's current owner. The court first issued Maria Somogyi a fine of approximately USD 175 for libel, though following her appeal, the fine was reduced to approximately USD 35. Somogyi will also have to cover the cost of the judicial proceedings. According to news site, this will amount to approximate USD 260.


“A terrorist fundamentalist sponsored by western democracies and liberals,”​ a quote from conservative TV reporter Ferenc Szaniszlo, combined with the face of minister Janos Lazar​. Created with

In 2013, investigative journalism site called for the decriminalization of libel and defamation in Hungary. The regulation criminalizing both acts is still in place, and has been abused on many occasions in an effort to muzzle critical voices. The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union has started a crowdsourcing campaign to support Maria Somogyi.

The HCLU also launched an application that generates a sarcastic “meme” by mixing images of Hungarian politicians with quotes from famous journalists and authors, such as the one above. The picture is intended to be shared by supporters of freedom of expression on social media. People can share their opinion offline as well. As part of their “PolitiKuss” campaign, the HCLU is collecting people's written opinions in Budapest on Monday, November 9, 2015.​

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