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The street name ban game

June 26th, 2012

Left-wing newspapers fear that a ban envisaged on Communist style street names could lead to a ban on their own titles. A centrist conservative blogger sees the bill submitted by right-wing MPs as a new step in the war over historical symbols.

Nine Fidesz and KDNP MPs have proposed that Parliament ban street names “reminiscent of 20th century dictatorships.” Their bill would extend the ban to institutions, associations, organisations and newspapers as well. They argue that there are still hundreds of streets throughout Hungary named after Lenin, Marx, Engels, the Red Army and even the leaders of the 1919 Communist dictatorship.

Figyelő’s news site Hír24 suggests the bill will make it possible to ban the titles of the two nationwide left-wing dailies, Népszabadság and Népszava. One was formerly the official media outlet of the Hungarian Socialist Workers (Communist) Party, the other served as the daily of the official trade unions under Communist rule.

In Népszabadság, Károly Lencsés and Máté Nyusztay believe the list of street names added to the bill makes it clear that the MPs are only after left-wing names (pro-Nazi street names were eradicated in the post-war period). They remark that Hungary’s interwar ruler Miklós Horthy’s name is clearly not taboo, since the authorities have not objected to his statues being erected in two settlements recently (See BudaPost, June 23).

Mandiner interprets the affair as “”. The game started when Parliament banned authoritarian symbols (See BudaPost, June 9), continued with a ban on “denying the crimes committed by Fascism and Communism”, and is reaching a new stage with the proposed ban on street names. The blogger does not believe that such bans will decrease the number of Communists or Fascists walking the streets, but strongly believes that banning the names of the two left-wing dailies is out of the question.

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