Hungary’s president OKs govt takeover of research

FILE- In this Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019 file photo, Participants of the demonstration titled ‘Academic Workers’ Forum Life Chain for Science’ gather in front of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA) headquarters to protest against the planned reorganisation of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest, Hungary, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. Hungary’s president has signed a bill paving the way for the government to take control of scientific research, a move that researchers see as a threat to scholarly freedom. (Szilard Koszticsak/MTI via AP, File)

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BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Hungary’s president has signed a bill paving the way for the government to take control of academic research, a move that researchers see as a threat to scholarly freedom.

President Janos Ader gave his approval Friday to the law, which strips the Academy of Sciences, a partially state-funded body, of its research network, many of its buildings and control over scientific research.

A new body until tighter government control will now manage the network which employs 3,000 researchers. The government says its aim is to boost innovation.

Critics fear it will prompt an exodus of scientists from Hungary. Some had asked Ader, a former member of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s ruling Fidesz party, to send the bill to the Constitutional Court for review, but he rarely questions government plans.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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