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Office for the Protection of Sovereignty Comes to the Help of Confused US Ambassador

Hungary Today 2024.06.27.
David Pressman at the Budapest Pride

The US Ambassador to Budapest and the Office for the Protection of Sovereignty have had a sharp exchange of words in recent days. It is not the first time that Ambassador David Pressman has criticized the Hungarian Sovereignty Protection Act and the Office for the Protection of Sovereignty, as reported by Index.

The Ambassador stated at a Pride family picnic at his residence on June 23 that “Russian President Putin has passed a ‘foreign agent law’ to scapegoat, smear, and marginalize his domestic political opponents, followed by an ‘anti-gay propaganda law.’ It didn’t take him long to claim that his political opposition was being funded by foreign agents through LGBT NGOs, and to accuse the US ambassador to Russia of being a pedophile. What was seen as a cautionary tale by much of the democratic world seems to be used as a model by the Hungarian government. Hungary also created its own law on ‘foreign support’ for NGOs, then its law against “gay propaganda,” and then the so-called ‘Office for the Protection of Sovereignty.’ Hungary wasted little time in deploying this fear machine.”

So, just like last year, this year’s Pride month did not pass without a statement from the US ambassador against the Hungarian government. The Office for the Protection of Sovereignty responded to the ambassador’s speech on its recently launched website.

In a recent speech, U.S. Ambassador David Pressman sharply attacked the Hungarian Sovereignty Protection Act and the Sovereignty Protection Office.

We remind Ambassador Pressman that the Foreign Agents Registration Act in the United States designates as a foreign agent anyone who engages in political activity in the country for foreign clients, acts as a public relations consultant, advertising agent, information service employee, or political consultant, collects money or other things of value, and solicits contributions. It subjects them to registration requirements, designates them as foreign agents, and imposes heavy fines and up to five years in prison for those who violate the law.

It should be noted that US legislation is stricter than Hungarian law in every respect.

However, unlike Ambassador Pressman, the Office would never have the courage to criticize the US government, its legislation, or the measures it has taken to protect sovereignty, as it is for US citizens alone to judge. However, it is right to expect the same behavior from the US ambassador,” said the Office in its response to David Pressman’s criticism.

Director of the Office for the Protection of Sovereignty, Tamás Lánczi. Photo: Facebook

The Hungarian Sovereignty Act was passed by parliament on December 12, 2023. According to the law, which came into force last year, the Office for the Protection of Sovereignty is

an autonomous state administrative body that carries out analytical, evaluative, proposing, and investigative activities.

The Office is independent, subject only to the law, cannot be instructed by any other person or body in the performance of its tasks, and carries out its tasks separately from other bodies and free from any influence by other institutions, bodies, political parties, associations, societies, legal or natural persons. The functions of the Office may be defined only by law.”

The US Sovereignty Protection Act, which corresponds to the Hungarian law, was passed in 1938. The Foreign Agents Registration Act essentially applies to all private and legal persons who are active in US public life and receive foreign funds. While the Act itself does not prohibit any particular activity, it does impose mandatory registration and disclosure of all relevant “foreign agents.”

This obligation is set forth in US law as a requirement for the parties concerned, while Hungarian legislation only requires entities under investigation to disclose information. In other words:

While in Hungary, the Office for the Protection of Sovereignty collects information only in case of suspicion or investigation, the US Department of Justice builds a database.

Opposition Media reportedly Receive HUF 1 Billion in Foreign Funding Annually
Opposition Media reportedly Receive HUF 1 Billion in Foreign Funding Annually

Only a few politically significant outlets were willing to disclose their foreign funding sources.Continue reading

Via index.hu, szuverenitasvedelmihivatal.hu; Featured Image: Facebook / U.S. Embassy Budapest

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