As reported by The Guardian, Hungary’s opposition has asked for the resignation of ministers in Viktor Orban’s far-right government amid claims that the government had targeted journalists, media owners, and opposition politicians as possible Pegasus spying targets. At the absolute least, the justice minister must step down, says Budapest Mayor Gergely Karacsony, who is the most likely opponent to Orban for the prime minister’s office in the spring elections.
In instances of national security, Hungarian legislation allows the intelligence agencies to authorize monitoring without court review, requiring just the signature of the Justice Minister.
“Every country needs such instruments,” Judit Varga, Hungary’s justice minister, said in the study. According to the report, she hasn’t explained why journalists, entrepreneurs, and politicians should be monitored in the name of national security.
Le Monde, a project partner of Pegasus, had asked Varga if she would authorize the Pegasus spying of a journalist and Varga said that it was “a provocation.” It was later requested that the question and response be deleted from the interview. Der Procurator’s Office in Budapest began investigating illegal secret information collection last week. Opposition politicians accuse the administration of disregarding the charges, thus few anticipate substantial outcomes.
No quorum was reached when opposition MPs called for an emergency meeting of Parliament’s National Security Committee on Monday because Fidesz’s four MPs failed to show up.
Peter Ungar, an opposition MP who sits on the committee, stated that the administration does not intend to debate the matter.”I don’t know what you would call this, but it’s certainly not an oversight.”Varga, he added, should resign if she is unable to provide a sufficient explanation as to whether or not the Pegasus spying occurred. It was discovered that at least five Hungarian journalists were listed on a leaked list of numbers picked by NSO customers for prospective monitoring, including two from Direkt36, a project partner.