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Budapest says ‘no’ to Orbán

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Vienna/ Budapest. May 3, 2021

The AEJ’S Hungarian Section has issued a tough statement on media freedom to mark May 3, backing U.S. Secretary of State Donald Blinken’s “real concern, that is shared by international press freedom advocates and many Hungarians, over the decline of pluralism and diversity and independent voices”.

Wherever possible, “independent, autonomously-minded journalists” had been replaced by “a servile-minded army of writers who faithfully follow instructions,” said the statement.

The AEJ in Hungary accepted freedoms had not been brutally suppressed as in Belarus, Russia, or Turkey. But there had been “systemic economic and political pressure” by prime minister Viktor Orbán’s government for more than 10 years.

It was inseparable from his ruling Fidesz party’s strategy and its three electoral victories. “Incessant centralization and constant distancing from the Western value system” showed no sign of abating in the run-up to next year’s parliamentary elections, said the Section’s statement.

It singled out for criticism the public humiliation by state TV and others of Austrian profil magazine journalist Franziska Tschinderle. She was accused of “provocation” for emailing three questions to Fidesz MEPsin connection with a new, rightist alliance in the European Parliament with the ruling party in Poland and the Italian far-right “to make Europe great again, returning to its original values”.

Links:

AEJ Hungary statement: https://aejhun.hu/hu/hirek

Klubrádió forced off air: https://www.euronews.com/2021/02/09/hungary-s-first-independent-radio-station-klubradio-to-go-off-air-on-sunday

Closure of Magyar Nemzet https://aej.org/2018/04/20/aej-deplores-the-closure-of-hungarian-newspaper-magyar-nemzet-another-blow-to-media-pluralism/

Fidesz thrown out of Centre-Right EPP Group  https://www.politico.eu/article/epp-plans-to-strip-hungarys-fidesz-of-membership-rights-document/

Tschinderle book on Albania – DW review https://www.dw.com/de/albanien-von-innen/a-56784332 

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