The Institute for Applied Theatre Studies, member of HTA, expresses its full support to the students and staff of the University of Film and Theater arts in Budapest.
Since September, the Theatre and Film School in Budapest has been run by a board of trustees appointed by the Hungarian government around Viktor Orbán. This is intended to expand government influence on the cultural scene; the old management of the university was removed from power. In this way, the Hungarian government deprived the prestigious Budapest University of Theatre and Film Arts of its independence. Almost all teaching staff has resigned, while students protest. About 250 of them have now occupied the university. With their action, they are demanding a guarantee of autonomy in teaching and research; a loss of self-determination would be unacceptable from the student side.
Just as the freedom of artistic expression requires that artists are free from state censorship, political interference or pressure from non-government organizations, contemporary academic practice requires political independence and institutional autonomy for universities and art schools. This latest example of the disregard for freedom of expression in Hungary shows how urgently the EU institutions need to counteract autocratic tendencies to influence academic teaching and research.