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Liberal commentator accused of anti-Roma slant

March 21st, 2015

As a liberal commentator is accused of anti-Roma prejudice, a conservative columnist dismisses the accusations but calls on the Right to become more active in Roma integration in order to break the Left’s dominance in this field.

In a harsh criticism of M1 public television, which was relaunched as a national news channel on March 15, Heti Világgazdaság’s, Árpád W. Tóta, a liberal columnist known for his highly subjective commentaries and sometimes vulgar language, accused M1 of being the uncritical mouthpiece of the government. In a comment on a somewhat clumsy live report by Róbert Orsós, Tóta wrote that “this reporter has a future only as long as this public television is on the air, after that he can only hope for public work”. Government politicians, the public television management and Roma organizations interpreted Tóta’s sentence as an anti-Roma slur. Tóta rejected the accusations claiming that he expressed an opinion about Orsós’ lack of professionalism rather than his ancestry.

In Magyar Nemzet, Zsombor György finds Tóta’s statement stupid, unfair and offensive, but not outright racist. The conservative columnist believes that Tóta’s was an indiscriminate attack on the new public channel and used Orsós’ report to make a point about M1. Although it was not a racist slur, the statement indicates Tóta’s deep contempt for blue collar public workers, György suggests. He goes on to add that any right-wing or conservative pundit would be accused of racism by left-wing and liberal columnists for a similar statement. In conclusion, György recommends the Right to become a more vocal supporter of anti-discrimination in order to deprive the Left of its dominance over the Roma integration issue.


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