Project: An online "press freedom kit" with a database of media laws, best practices in legislation and a platform for journalists and media advocates.
Attila Mong, a radio broadcaster and columnist, never imagined his most important act of journalism would be to remain silent. In 2010, he was host of the Hungarian Public Radio’s flagship morning news program. The newly elected government enacted a media law that prevented journalists from commenting on the government. How could he alert people to this outrageous legislation? For one full minute, he silenced his live show in protest. That minute became an immediate YouTube hit and media story. Eventually, under pressure from international press and European organizations, Hungary modified some of the law’s most egregious aspects. But Mong was suspended and later left the station. His 17-year journalism career has included experience as co-founder of a business web portal, a magazine editor and the Pulitzer Memorial prize in 2004 for investigative journalism. After his moment of silence, he continued to write an opinion column for the independent news site origo.hu and helped create the Mertek Media Institute to advocate for a common policy for press freedoms in the European Union. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1991 from the College for Foreign Trade in Budapest and is also the author of a new investigative book due out in late 2012, “Kadar`s Loans,” on the history of the Hungarian foreign debt. In fall 2011 he was visiting research fellow at the Stanford’s Hoover Institution.