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Diverging right-wing views on NGO conflict

September 11th, 2014
A pro-government commentator believes that the Norwegian government is biased in the NGO scandal and the NGOs defended by it are practically opposition activists. Her conservative colleague does not totally disagree but calls the police performance on Monday “brainless and unacceptable”.
In Magyar Nemzet, Ágnes Seszták deplores the use of the term “civic”  as a synonym for “honest and innocent” as opposed to “guilty and dishonest” politicians. She criticises the Norwegian Minister for EU affairs who condemned the Hungarian authorities for sending the police to search the premises of NGOs in charge of the “Norwegian Fund” (see BudaPost, September 10). Had Mr Vilgar Hegesden asked right-wing journalists about his NGOs, she explains, he would know how “civic”, that is non-political, those organisations are, and she mentions a few groups that have often criticised the government. She also finds it evident that the organisation in charge of the Norwegian Funds was not entitled to lend money with interest and thus the authorities were right in proceeding against it. The whole scandal, she argues, is aimed at tarnishing the government’s image.
In Heti Válasz, András Stumpf agrees that lending regularly with interest amounts to unauthorised banking, and that many of the beneficiaries of the “Norwegian Fund” are political adversaries of the government. He finds it repulsive, however, that the police should have staged a show of force against organisations run by women who would have given them the requested documents anyway. He suspects that this “mindless, ridiculous, exaggerated and unacceptable” move was the work of zealots within the police and is convinced that it could not have been ordered by the government. The proof, he says, is that the State Secretary in charge of Development Subsidies also called the police raid “exaggerated”. Stumpf believes the police should apologise for what happened, otherwise the government’s reputation will remain tarnished.


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