According to the International Centre for Not-for-Profit Law 140 laws were adopted in 65 countries to restrict, limit or politically label civil society organisations between 2012 and 2017. Independent NGOs are in the crosshairs of governments which are eroding civil liberties, checks and balances so that illiberal states can be built without dissenting voices.
UH Fest is organised by our registered non-profit organisation, Ultrasound Foundation.
To raise consciousness and express solidarity, this year during the festival campaign the names of the presented artists on some posters are covered by the Hungarian text: Foreign-funded Festival.
This reflects on a newly adopted Hungarian law that requires NGOs which receive foreign support in excess of 22 500 Euros to register as “Foreign-funded Organisation”. According to the law, that alone makes the funding from the European Union suspicious because it comes from the EU without the possibility for the Hungarian government to choose the funded NGOs or to interfere. Since all Hungarian NGOs already published their detailed, annual financial reports, this new law brings nothing new to the table. Its sole purpose is to label certain NGOs as foreign agents, enemies of the nation in the eye of the general public.
As part of the SHAPE platform with 15 other European festivals UH Fest should be labeled as “foreign-funded” according to the new law.
This new act, besides being an unhealthy example for other countries, creates a chilling effect on self-organised active citizens and is against what we have embraced and promoted throughout our almost two-decade activity.