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Péter Juhász, TV2 and Fidesz locked in war over wealth

March 22nd, 2016

Népszabadság accuses the government’s communication team of targeting people critical of those in power, while Pesti Srácok warns that opposition politicians are also public figures who must face public scrutiny.

In an op-ed piece in Népszabadság, Ervin Tamás describes calls the crew of TV 2 commercial television a ‘hatchet team” and deplores that they have been going  after opposition politician Péter Juhász’s finances,  just after Mr Juhász publicly suspected prominent Fidesz politicians of shady real estate deals. Now Fidesz has also initiated an inquiry into his financial affairs.

Péter Juhász, the deputy chairman of Együtt (Together) and a Budapest 5th district councilman, is locked in a bitter war with former district mayor Antal Rogán over claims that municipal real estate was systematically sold to private individuals below market price. Antal Rogán, who is now Minister in charge of the Prime Minister’s Cabinet, sued Juhász for defamation, while police launched a criminal investigation concerning Juhász’s accusations. Péter Juhász also initiated a wealth inquiry related to so far unproven allegations that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán owns a huge country estate which he has not declared on his official assets list.

Last week TV2, a major Hungarian commercial television channel that was recently acquired by Andy Vajna, Government Commissioner for the Film Industry, ran a story on Juhász’s apartment. A news reporter interviewed Juhász on how he could afford the rent in an apparently posh neighbourhood. Juhász later claimed the interview was heavily edited, and sued TV2 for breach of privacy. TV2 shot back in a public statement claiming the interviewee verbally insulted their reporter during the interview in a manner unworthy of a public figure.

This country is in perpetual election campaign mode, Ervin Tamás, the left-liberal paper’s pundit notes in his article, and suspects the heavy hand of the “regime’s communication team” behind the TV report on Juhász. The team, he suggests, is out to annihilate him. At the same time, he fulminates, the embezzlement of public funds, bare-faced lies and the ‘thrombosis of the law’ have become increasingly widespread and extreme, while servility to those in power breeds absurd stories. This is why anyone protesting about anything now is bound to take aim at the system itself, Tamás claims.

Tutiblog, a politics column on Pesti Srácok, on the other hand, maintains that Péter Juhász is a public figure, just like Viktor Orbán and Antal Rogán, therefore he too has to be open to public scrutiny. The author, Róbert Piréz, apparently a pseudonym, has no doubt that enquiries into the wealth of public figures are important in order to reveal whether public funds are being diverted into personal accounts. He also deems it important, however, to ascertain if certain public figures accept money from unknown people to advance these benefactors’ hidden agenda. Piréz also ridicules Juhász’s legal procedure against TV2, arguing that it is absolutely normal for a news story to use short, ten second-long soundbites, from an interview in which the interviewee behaved in a dumb and aggressive way.



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