Former Hungarian dissident made new media envoy for the OSCE

Miklos Haraszti

Miklos Haraszti, a former Hungarian dissident and writer, has been appointed Median Envoy to the Vienna based Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe - Europe's largest security organisation. Haraszti helped found the Hungarian Democratic Opposition Movement in 1976, and edited an underground periodical in the 1980s. He also served as a member of parliament in the early 1990s, and wrote several books - some of which were published in the West but blacklisted at home until the fall of communism. Sándor Laczkó of Radio Budapest asked Mr Haraszti about the difficulties of being chosen for the job...

Miklos Haraszti
"It was a very long labyrinth-like work for 2 years to achieve a total consensus - which, as a rule, you need to achieved in the OSCE. Of course probably the candidate also counts, and my experience includes 20 years of work for the freedom of the media underground and 15 years ‚above ground' working with legislation and in other posts in a new democracy. This probably had weight in the decision of the 55 member countries."

When you applied, what were your aims that you would like to fulfil in this new position?

"My aim can not be to achieve total freedom of the media in all 55 countries at once - as that has been a very long, organic development in every country and no country is there yet. My responsibilities are to act as an early warning and rapid response system when needed; long term helping institutional and legislative reform where it is needed and kind of in the medium term, to work on institutional consensus and recommendation for more than once country. I don't think that any other kind of approach from abroad would help any country."

Who would be your partners or opponents in this struggle to achieve as free a media as possible?

"I'm not counting opponents as all 55 members countries have undersigned the principles of the OSCE. Of course conditions, developments, habits, particular political developments will always cause trouble, as will economic developments in the west. But freedom of the media is a nice word, and no one is perfect."