Press release, 06.02.2023.
Communication of the HCSO on pre-release access to official statistical data
The Hungarian Central Statistical Office (HCSO) has become aware of a violation of the embargo rules related to pre-release access to official statistical data and is responding by investigating the case and taking measures to prevent similar occurrences.
On 4 February 2023, the online economic newspaper Portfolio published an article about the fact that, prior to the official publication of retail trade data on 6 February, an economic research institute had provided Portfolio with embargoed statistical data and an analysis based on it.
The staff of the Office are bound by strict confidentiality rules regarding the handling of statistical data, which can only be handled by a limited number of staff in a controlled and purpose-specific manner before official disclosure – data security is ensured by internal technical and other rules.
In accordance with the principles of official statistics, the HCSO provides pre-release access to the first releases only to governmental decision-making bodies and to media outlets requesting access, in as narrow a circle of persons as possible, as laid down in the Dissemination and Communication Policy. The purpose of this exercise is to enable the recipients the necessary preparation for the interpretation of economic policy processes related to the data to be released.
The first release, which is published at 8:30 a.m. on the day indicated in the dissemination calendar, is available to the relevant public officials at 5:00 p.m. on the previous working day. On the day of publication, the first release is sent 30 minutes before the publication to news agencies and editorial offices that have indicated their wish to receive it. Pre-release access is subject to a declaration of compliance with the embargo rules for both state organisations and the press organisations concerned.
The declaration includes the embargo rules that the data may not be disclosed or transmitted to third parties prior to official publication. Responsibility for compliance with the embargo and for the confidentiality of the data lies with the declarants who undertake to comply with the embargo.
In the decades-long history of the practice of embargoed pre-release access, there has never been a violation of the embargo. The serious breach of the embargo rules is being investigated by the HCSO and the necessary measures will be taken.
Hungarian Central Statistical Office
H-1024 Budapest, Keleti Károly u. 5-7. Phone: +36 (1) 345 6000
Postal address: P.O.B. 51 Budapest, H-1525