Hungarian media opposes ministry plan forcing them to employ secret security agents

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Hungarian media are demanding the government repeal a plan that could force newspapers, television and radio stations and online publications to add secret agents from national security services to their staffs.

The Hungarian Publishers' Association said Wednesday that if the draft proposal presented to Parliament by the interior ministry is passed by lawmakers, it could "harshly interfere with and damage" media freedom and would facilitate censorship.

The association represents over 40 of Hungary's largest media companies.

The ministry proposal includes the media in a long list of institutions and companies — such as energy, postal and weapons firms — that would also have to, if asked, employ secret agents who are qualified for "cover" jobs.

Two opposition parties, the left-wing Democratic Coalition and the far-right Jobbik, also rejected the proposal.