February 10, 2010

AMHERST, Mass.–Miklós Haraszti, author, journalist, human rights advocate and university professor, will give a lecture titled “Twenty Years After the Change: The State of Freedom of the Press in Europe from the Atlantic to the Pacific,” at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 17, in Pruyne Lecture Hall of Amherst College’s Fayerweather Hall.The talk is free and open to the public and co-sponsored by the Office of the President and the Department of Political Science.

In his lecture, Haraszti will assess how the collapse of European Communism between 1989 and 1991 first led to the liberalization of the press in the entire Northern hemisphere, only to give way in the last decade to a deterioration in media freedoms in the new democracies. He will describe a counter-reformation drive in the post-Soviet lands and a breakdown of liberal qualities in the media even in Central Europe, at one time the core of the democratization process.

Haraszti is himself a dissident author on censorship and a founder of the Hungarian Democratic Opposition Movement. In 1980 he became editor of the periodical Beszélő and then, in 1989, participated in the “roundtable” negotiations on transition to free elections in his country. A member of the Hungarian Parliament from 1990 to 1994, he lectures on democratization and media politics at numerous universities. He has directed the media freedom watchdog institution of the 56-nation Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) since 2004.

Haraszti has written several essays and books, including A Worker in a Worker’s State and The Velvet Prison, both of which have been translated into several languages. His essays have been published in The New York Times and The Washington Post.

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