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New pro-government monthly draws criticism

January 9th, 2014

Népszabadság suggests that a planned ‘exclusive review’ illustrates how the government is attempting to tame authors and artists. The internet is “aflame” with spicy reactions and young right-wing authors who have been queuing up to dissociate themselves from the project.
In its front page editorial on the government’s plan to launch a new periodical, Népszabadság suggests that anyone who rejects co-operation might lose well paid contracts. Former theatre director Imre Kerényi, who is now “Government Commissioner for the preservation of cultural values”, published a list of 100, mostly pro-government potential authors who should fill the pages of the exclusive magazine, along with prominent government politicians, including the Prime Minister himself. Kerényi‘s letter defines the mission of the monthly to be called Magyar Krónika (Hungarian Chronicle) as representing “government-subsidised inventiveness” and “propagating our ideals”. Népszabadság admits that former governments also tended to favour their own sympathisers among artists and authors, but accuses the present leadership of intending to exclude dissidents altogether from government contracts. Those who are thus marginalised, the editorial continues, are therefore free to stand up to the government, while pro-government artists must co-operate, for they have a lot to lose.

Heti Válasz publishes a list of over a dozen prominent authors who have publicly declared that, although their names figure on Kerényi’s list, they will refuse to write for the new monthly. They include Deputy Prime Minister Tibor Navracsics, the Heti Válasz editor in chief Gábor Borókai, along with three of his colleagues as well as academician Szilveszter E. Vizi, ex-president of the Academy of Sciences.

Young right-wing bloggers express indignation over the project. In Jobbegyenes, Gábor Balogh asks “what makes it possible for Kerényi to constantly discredit the right wing?” The author adds that being right-wing “is becoming a hopeless feeling, as a result of such epochal ideas”.

Commenting on these reactions and on the growing number of potential authors refusing to write for Magyar Krónika, Gergő Plankó writes in 444 that Kerényi has finally managed to bring sane people together from right and left, “if only for one day”.

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