Resolving a social dispute is “outside the scope of a court”, the Budapest metropolitan court said late on Wednesday commenting on a decision to turn down a recent complaint concerning a caricature with Jesus in it.
The caricature showing Jesus and Chief Medical Officer Cecília Müller was published in daily Népszava in April 2020 and it resulted in co-ruling Christian Democrat deputy group leader Imre Vejkey filing a lawsuit against the paper.
András Veres, the head of the Hungarian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, slammed the court decision rejecting the complaint, saying that the caricature was “blasphemous” as it sought to ridicule Christian values as well as “the Christian chief medical officer determined to do her job during the pandemic”.
The metropolitan court said in a statement that the court ruling was based on the fact that the drawing was a caricature. According to the court’s assessment, readers would associate to current events and at the time of the drawing’s publication the artist reflected on public life, not on religion.
“The caricature was not aimed against Christian religion, it did not ridicule the Christian community and did not prevent Christians from freely practicing their religion … it does not justify restricting the freedom of expression and the press,” the court said, adding that the ruling could be appealed.
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