FERA Statement: EU Filmmakers Join in Support to Budapest University of Theatre and Film Arts’ Students and Senate
Just like freedom of artistic expression requires artists to be independent and free of governmental censorship, political interference or pressures of non-state actors, sound academic practice requires universities’ academic freedom and institutional autonomy.
Both are key indicators are the quality of the national social contract.
We join our Hungarian Film Directors colleagues in supporting the students and Senate of the Budapest University of Theatre and Film Arts in their actions against a re-organisation which has effectively resulted in the university’s loss of academic autonomy.
This situation illustrates growing pressure on our common EU democratic standards and cannot be overlooked.
We call on European institutions to insist on a prompt resolution of the situation with the Hungarian government.
Contact: Pauline Durand-Vialle, CEO – email@example.com – +32 551 08 94
Photo by Lazar Todoroff
UPDATE – 20/10/2020
Since we put up our statement in support of SZFE, we have received reports of the following developments:
SZFE has a new board of trustees, lead by Attila Vidnyászky, who has replaced the chancellor of the university Lajos Vonderviszt, whose contract runs until the end of 2020 with Colonel Gábor Szarka, a former defense minister’s chief of staff.
The university’s online infrastructure, including its website, Facebook page and emails are now under the control of the new leadership.
The students continue to protest and occupy the building of the university, reportedly refusing entry to Colonel Gábor Szarka after his appointment as university chancellor. Students ask for the departure of the new board of trustees and refuse to accept the new form of operation until the government fulfills their demands aimed at guaranteeing SZFE’s autonomy. Their blockade has lasted for 50 days now.
Reportedly, the internet connection in two campus buildings of SZFE was cut on October 13 as students held a forum.
The teachers and some of the university staff and employees went on strike on October 1st, in protest against the new board and officials whose appointments they considere illegitimate. The main goal is to regain academic freedom and autonomy.
SZFE has received support nationally, from sudents, the artworld of Hungary and many civilians, and internationally in statements of support and photos.
IN THE PRESS
September 3 – 3sat
September 3 – Human Rights Watch
September 4 – Euronews
September 5 – Nachtkritik
September 5 – The Guardian
September 5 – Trouw
September 6 – ABC News
September 6 – New York Times
September 6 – Washington post
September 7 – BBC News
September 7 – Le Monde
September 14 – Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung
September 18 – Der Standard
September 30 – France 24
October 1 – Taipei Times
October 5 – SZ.de
October 11 – Autocracy Analyst
October 13 – Die Presse
October 13 – Foreign Policy
October 15 – Insight Hungary
October 16 – Agence France Presse
October 16 – SZ.de
October 17 (updated on November 17) – Telex
October 17 – Daily News Hungary
FIRST EXPRESSIONS OF SUPPORT TO THE MOVEMENT
#freeSZFE on Social Media
The European Film Academy
MDW – Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien
And many more.