Protest in Hungary over govt plan to seize research network

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BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — A few thousand mostly academics and students held a protest march against a plan by Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government to seize control of the research network of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

Critics say the government plan threatens academic freedom and autonomous scientific research in Hungary, a “de facto nationalization of the academy’s property” which would put scientific research under close government scrutiny.

The government, which held several rounds of unsuccessful talks with the academy, says its wants to improve innovation in scientific research and have publicly funded research projects that create “direct economic profit.”

Viktor Oliver Lorincz, a junior research fellow attending Sunday’s march, said “we don’t want to belong to the government because we are afraid that the government will decide what we should research.”

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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