Saturday, June 23, 2007

Hungarian journalist is found badly beaten

According to the Hungarian news agency MTI, Irén Kármán, an investigative journalist, film maker and blogger (in Hungarian) on the site of the leading Hungarian newspaper, Népszabadság, was found by some fishermen on Friday on the banks of the Danube, tied and badly beaten.

She was taken to hospital in Budapest and, according to the latest reports, her condition has stabilized. For some reason the police is aware of the fact that the attack occurred elsewhere and Ms Kármán was taken to the place where she was found.

Among the many protests and demands for a swift investigation one came from Miklós Haraszti, erstwhile dissident writer and poet, erstwhile member of the Hungarian parliament, now lecturer on democratization and the media and, somewhat ironically, the OSCE representative on freedom of the media.

Irén Kármán is known for her investigation of the oil scam in Hungary, whereby a certain dye was bleached from the state subsidized heating oil in order for the material to be sold as diesel. Her investigations seem to have indicated, not surprisingly, that this sort of a large mafia-type exercise could not have been carried out without involvement on the part of politicians, high-ranking civil servants and the police.

She has had important material stolen from her before and, as she said on her blog, has had threatening e-mails in connection with her work.

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