Local Opinion: Police Search 30 Scientology Centres

  • 30 Oct 2017 7:54 AM
Local Opinion: Police Search 30 Scientology Centres
As the authorities investigate alleged abuses of privacy within the Church of Scientology in Hungary, a conservative journalist believes that the state plans prolonged action against the organisation, which is not recognised in Hungary as a church.

In his Heti Válasz cover story, Szilárd Szőnyi describes how the state has launched a showdown with Scientology in Hungary. The conservative weekly first depicted Scientology as a deceitful organisation which intrudes into its members’ personal autonomy 16 years ago.

Szőnyi welcomes the 40 million forint fine imposed on the Scientology centre by the Data Protection Agency for the illegal handling of members’ sensitive data. Without quoting victims by name, the columnist describes cases in which the Scientology centre collected data on sexual, medical and criminal misconduct under the pretext of auditing.

The centre explained the data collection as necessitated by finding ways to cure various illnesses which afflicted members. According to the authority, Scientology leaders had no right to collect and store such information. The investigation was launched after a former Scientology member complained that the centre had refused to release to him the data that had been collected on him when he left the organisation.

The head of the Data Protection Agency, Attila Péterfalvi, earlier tried to tackle the problem, but received no backing from other authorities and was compelled to confine himself to issuing warnings. The government has never viewed Scientology favourably and its representatives privately defended the much-criticised law on churches by remarking that this was the only way to prevent the recognition of business churches like Scientology.

Since then, they have made little progress – until early this autumn. After the fine imposed by the Data Protection Agency, police raided 30 Scientology centres throughout Hungary to collect proof of abuses. Szőnyi believes the authorities changed their attitude after the Scientology centre moved into its new 2 billion forint headquarters.

He does not believe the authorities plan to impose an outright ban on Scientology, beyond not recognising it as a church. But new European data protection rules will come into force next May, with potential fines up to €20 million – 150 times higher than the one the Hungarian data protection agency imposed this time.

Source: BudaPost

This opinion does not necessarily represent the views of this portal. Your opinion articles are welcome too, for review before possible publication, via info@xpatloop.com

Related articles:
Church Of Scientology In Hungary Fined EUR 65,000 For Unlawful Data Management
Fidesz: Scientology Church’s Request To Socialist Member Of Parliament ‘Astonishing’
Scientology Headquarters In Budapest Searched

MTI photo: Bruzák Noémi

  • How does this content make you feel?

Explore More Reports