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Momentum leader’s walk-in to Origo still on the agenda

May 29th, 2017

A left-wing commentator believes that the unusual ‘visit’ by the leader of Momentum to Origo’s editorial offices expressed the fresh style his movement represents, while a conservative analyst sees it as proof that the press is taking over the role of the opposition parties.

In 168 óra, Ákos Tóth disagrees with the bulk of the opposition news outlets which criticised Momentum leader András Fekete-Győr for walking into the editorial offices of Origo and questioning a journalist on video about the unsubstantiated allegations the man had written about them. “Does anybody want pro-government people to walk into the editorial offices of opposition websites?” critics asked. Tóth answers that honest journalists would be able to defend their writings and since Momentum’s leader behaved peacefully and left the premises as soon as he was asked to do so, he finds nothing wrong in his behaviour. What disturbs such critics, Tóth suggests, is that Momentum doesn’t play by the rules that have made the current opposition both impotent and incompetent in the eyes of the public. “They have shown that it would be premature to write them off”.

In his Figyelő editorial, Tamás Lánczi sees the Momentum phenomenon as proof that the opposition press is becoming or has already become the real opposition the government has to face. And not just in Hungary. In the United States, President Trump is not fighting the Democrats – his real enemy is the mainstream press which is bent on ruining him. In Hungary, sizeable masses have been mobilized lately against the government, but as opinion polls have shown, the opposition parties gained nothing from that upheaval. He suggests that the reason behind that is the attitude of opposition news outlets who simply ignored opposition leaders when reporting on the protest marches or contentious issues like the fate of the Central European University. Momentum, on the other hand, only exists in the press and “is a pure media-product”, with no structures in society, but has been constantly kept on top of the news. Lánczi considers it an abuse of press privilege if the media engage in direct politicizing. Political parties must act within strict financial rules and are accountable. The media is not. But because of its unaccountability, it should not become a competitor in the political field.


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