The Freedom of Speech of Religious Communities and their Protection from Freedom of Speech in the Hungarian Legal System

in Religion & Human Rights
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In keeping with the general European conception of freedom of speech, the Hungarian legal system achieves an appropriate balance between the interests vested in the protection of religious communities and the freedom of expression. In itself the injury, the feeling of hurt caused by criticism or even vilification of religion does not provide adequate grounds for the restriction of speech (an exception from this is the prohibition applicable to commercial communications published in the media). The new constitutional system has not changed this approach. The relevant passages of the new Churches Act are primarily declarative in nature. When examining these provisions which, at first sight, appear to give preference to churches over associations performing religious activities in a broader context, it becomes apparent that, in respect of the freedom of speech of religious communities as well as the protection of such communities from the freedom of speech, no distinction is made between these two types of organisation, the legal status of which are otherwise different.

Religion & Human Rights

An International Journal




In summer 2012, the Parliament adopted a new criminal code (Act C of 2012) which will enter into force as of summer 2013. The aforementioned felonies are provided for in the new code, as well in Articles 217, 279 and 340 in this order.


Dirk Voorhoof, ‘The Protection of Journalistic Sources Under Fire?’, in European Media Law. Collection of Materials 2011–2012 (Herentals: Knops Publishing, 2011); András Koltay, A szólásszabadság alapvonalai—magyar, angol, amerikai és európai összehasonlításban [The Basic Aspects of the Freedom of Speech in Hungarian, British, American and European Comparison] (Budapest: Századvég, 2009), pp. 203−205.


Frederick Schauer, Freedom of Speech: A Philosophical Enquiry (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), pp. 109–112.


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