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Hungarian journalist complains about German press bias

December 2nd, 2011

A conservative journalist finds the way his German colleagues write about Hungary unfair. He wonders whether they can be dissuaded from their prejudice.

In Heti Válasz, András Stumpf describes a meeting with a German journalist, who is convinced that Hungary is slowly but steadily drifting towards dictatorship. To support his thesis, the Spiegel correspondent listed a series of events: the appointment of a far right actor as director of a theatre (Budapost, October 10, 17 and November 11), the plans to remove the statues of historic, left-wing figures from Kossuth Square, the paintings on Hungarian history ordered by a government commissioner to illustrate the deluxe edition of the new constitution. He also deplored what he called the silencing of the media. The Hungarian journalist asked him how the media could be silenced under the new Media Act, but the German colleague could not explain. Stumpf admits, nevertheless, that he could (fairly) have argued that the public media is not independent, and if the prime minister’s spokesman had the absurd idea of becoming the editor of a programme, he could get the job.

“Weak in factual knowledge, strong in opinions,” – Stumpf remarks, and finds it absurd that his colleague believes in a far right danger on the basis of an imaginary connivance between governing Fidesz and far right Jobbik.

He reminded the German journalist of the Neo-Nazi serial killers caught recently in Germany, and a series of Neo-Nazi violence covered up by  federal police. “I could write about Fascism raging in Hitler’s country, I told him, and base my writing on facts. He protested, saying it wouldn’t be true. It would not, and in fact, I don’t write such things. But whether he understood my hint, I don’t know. I wonder what he will write in Der Spiegel.”

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