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The dream to relaunch of Radio Free Europe – a critical view

August 18th, 2018

A left-wing sociologist criticises those liberal intellectuals who are urging the United States to relaunch broadcasts by Radio Free Europe in Hungarian. He calls their idea an expression of political parochialism.

In Népszava, Pál Tamás says he understands the motives of those who dream of returning to their youth when they listened to shortwave broadcasts by the Munich-based and US-funded radio station. Left-wingers and liberals have in fact lost ground in the media in Hungary, although they still have relatively popular outlets (see BudaPost, August 6). Some in the opposition feel that since they are unlikely to defeat the government at elections, at least they should discredit their opponents. They believe that the resumption of Radio Free Europe broadcasts in Hungarian would be tantamount to declaring that Hungary is not a democratic country. That would provide them moral satisfaction, although without improving their electoral chances. On top of everything, Tamás argues, Radio Free Europe could basically broadcast nothing really different from what listeners can already hear on Klub Radio. While it is true that that left-wing FM radio station only reaches households in and around Budapest, the rest of the country could not be reached by Radio Free Europe either, he remarks, since Hungarians have long discarded their shortwave radio receivers.