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Former Socialist prime minister, Ferenc Gyurcsány suspected of plagiarism

May 1st, 2012

A leading right-wing columnist accuses the Hungarian left-wing media and blogosphere of double standards after HírTV, a right wing television channel, revealed that Ferenc Gyurcsány’s Teachers College thesis could be a copy of his former brother-in-law’s. Népszabadság, meanwhile, claims that HírTV is “going after Gyurcsány”.

Two months after hvg.hu, a moderate liberal news portal broke the news that Hungarian President Pál Schmitt’s doctoral dissertation consisted of verbatim translations of other sources, Schmitt resigned (see BudaPost 2012 April 4th). The case revived interest in the theses of prominent politicians (see BudaPost 2012 April 5th). Although Gyurcsány’s 1984 thesis has not yet turned up, critical comments about it are available. On September 29th HírTV, a right wing news television channel, interviewed the brother-in-law who stated that he submitted a thesis with exactly the same title and on the same subject (Vine culture in the Balaton Uplands). Furthermore, he said the former in-laws, contrary to Gyurcsány’s first explanations, neither had a vineyard, nor books on the subject that Gyurcsány could have used, other than a copy of his 1980 thesis.

In Magyar Hírlap, Bayer asks why those who “executed” Pál Schmitt have not raised the alarm in Gyurcsány’s case. He suggests that those commentators and anonymous bloggers who “are ready to denigrate anyone” do not attack Gyurcsány because they would not go after their own kind. Bayer envisions a “terrible time” descending on Hungary, mostly due to such “hyenas” who, according to Bayer, dread someone – Ferenc Gyurcsány who “does not even exist” because they are afraid their own dreams, which they have projected onto him, will fall apart.

In its front page editorial, Népszabadság claims that HírTV is “after Gyurcsány”, looking for any fault – and faults can always be found if a person is under close scrutiny. Although – they say — the plagiarism case cannot be definitely settled as the text is missing, the identical titles are “nasty enough.”  On the other hand, they argue that while no one is perfect, it is not moral but political strength that is decisive. The plagiarism case could be fatal for Gyurcsány because he cannot afford another blow to his credibility, as he “has already lost a whole war” in that field (See BudaPost September 19, 2011).

Hírszerző, a liberal opinion portal which is an affiliate of hvg.hu. remarks that Gyurcsany’s plagiarism does not redeem Schmitt; on the contrary, anyone who committed fraud in Hungary should be exposed and face the music.

Other blogosphere commentators also call for equal treatment. Zoltán Miklósi in the liberal commentary outlet szuveren.hu sees the case as further proof of Gyurcsány’s moral failings and says he former PM has become unfit for public office. He argues that it is not for the sake of the left but for the sake of basic social norms that Gyurcsány must withdraw from politics.

Bence Földi on campusonline.hu, a students’ portal  launched in 2011 for accusing Magyar Nemzet of foul play while – he says – even Gyurcsány admitted that journalists are simply doing their job when they investigate his academic record.

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