Censorship and Law in Hungary in the Past


  • Gergely Gosztonyi Eötvös Loránd University, Faculty of Law, Department of the History of Hungarian State and Law


censorship, freedom of expression, Librorum Prohibitorum, legislation, print press


The first decree involving censorship in Hungary is dated 1524 when Louis II wrote a letter to the town of Sibiu, warning against “reading the treacherous writings of” Martin Luther – a crime punishable by forfeiture of property. Although the direct effect of this letter is unclear, by the following year of 1525 there were book burnings in Sopron. In the following two centuries censorship was almost exclusively used to protect religion… Since the revolution of 1848, censorship endured for ‘a mere’ seventy-six years in Hungary. The article gives a brief introduction of Hungary’s path from the stronghanded censorship of  the 17th and 18th centuries to the 21st century when political censorship as a concept is no longer comprehensible, giving way to the evolution of new forms of control mechanisms. The disappearance of political censorship can give us cause for optimism in terms of the evolution of the freedom to express opinion, but the end of the fight for complete press freedom is still far ahead.