Prime Minister Viktor Orban, he who in July spoke of his intention to create an ‘illiberal state’ in the vein of Turkey and Russia, has now unveiled plans to impose a tax on internet usage in Hungary. Commentary has made it clear that this is a measure that will not only hurt small businesses, decrease access to information in poorer areas but is designed to restrict political opponents who mainly use online media.
The tax is the equivalent of 50 centimes on each transferred GB of data.
In the FT Neelie Kroes, the EU’s outgoing digital chief, spoke about the damage it will likely do to the digital economy in the country. This plan is thus not only illiberal but as Kroes puts it ‘not a very clever idea.’
Protests and rallies began over the weekend at (the still nationally popular) ruling party Fidesz headquarters. Protesters flung computer parts at the gates and called for the plan to be scrapped.
What is also worth pointing out is that Orban was a key ally in David Cameron’s failed bid to block Jean-Claude Junker’s ascension into becoming the European Commission President.
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