NPR

After Mass Protests, Hungary Gives Up On Internet Tax

Thousands of participants march across the Elisabeth bridge during a rally against the government's plan to tax Internet usage. (AFP/Getty Images)

Days after some 100,000 people took to the streets in protest, Hungary's government has given up on plans to tax Internet usage.

As we reported, opponents said the tax was the government's attempt to "create a digital iron curtain around Hungary."

The Wall Street Journal reports that today, Prime Minister Viktor Orban rejected criticims that he was trying to restrict freedom of speech, but he acknowledged that the plan was controversial. The Journal adds:

"'We aren't Communists. We aren't governing against the people, but with the people,' the premier said in a regular bi-weekly interview on state radio MR1.

"The legislation, the latest in a series of taxes introduced to narrow the deficit, would have been highly unusual. Telecommunication firms and Internet companies condemned the plan as a hindrance to economic development, with the Hungarian arm of Vodafone Group PLC calling the tax 'globally unique.'"

According to the BBC, Orban also said that if people consider this tax "unreasonable then it should not be done." He added that there would be a "national consultation" in January.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Most Popular