Friday, 3 December 2010

News from Hungary is [blank]

The Hungarian government is going about its depressingly sub-fascist legislation as described by the BBC here.

So first let us wave the flag, the dear old red-white-and green:

Under the new legislation, Hungarian media outlets will have to fill at least half of their programming with European productions, rather than those from overseas, while radio stations will have to dedicate at least 25% of airtime to Hungarian music.

But really it is about 'balance':

There would be sanctions for unbalanced coverage or breaches of rules on coverage of sex, violence or alcohol.

The government says the law will bring about a more balanced media.

Some people have simply no idea of balance (I expect they are chiefly into sex and violence):

It would "give the new media authority absolute control" over coverage, said Endre Bojtar, editor-in-chief of liberal political weekly Magyar Narancs. (translation: Magyar Narancs= Hungarian Orange - Hungary does not grow oranges)

Which is why we should not pussy-foot about:

One proposal in the bill is to allow the Media Council - whose current members are all government nominees - to issue fines which can only be appealed against after they have been paid.

Fines which could total the equivalent of tens of thousands of dollars could make it all but impossible for some publications to remain in business.

Inevitably it is necessary to restrict freedom in order that freedom should flourish:

The aim is to "guarantee the freedom of members of the [media] branch, while protecting the interests of the community", said parliamentary deputy Erzsebet Menczer, one of the authors of the bill.

So be assured! As a leading article in the Magyar Hírlap newspaper has it:

Aki tisztességes, nincs mitől félnie

Értelmezhetetlennek nevezte L. Simon László azt a vádat, hogy az új médiatörvény felszámolja a sajtószabadságot

Translation: Decent Folk Have Nothing To Fear

L. László Simon said he simply couldn't understand why anyone should regard the new media law as a curtailment of press freedom.

It is, of course, quite right that folk who are not decent should fear the new law. That's what it's for. Some people are clearly not balanced.

I don't imagine that the question of balance will touch the far right pro-government media such as Magyar Nemzet, Magyar Hírlap, Hír TV and Inforadio. They will all be, and have always been, perfectly balanced.

Some parts of the dreaded 'left-liberal press' have appeared with blank front pages this morning. And that is more or less what Hungary is becoming: a blank page.



We've been down this road before.

"intellectual violence directed at (the) mind"

"bougeois affectation"

"an excessive reverence of authority"

"youth being deceived by the state"

from: Einstein in Berlin

Gwilym Williams said...

George, I worry for you. Is an annexation of the Hungarian settled Slovakia lands the hidden agenda? You know, like the Germans did with the Sudetenlands.
By the way, it seems that in the last few months there's been a complete clear out at the Budapest Opera, not only Fischer (world's best conductor 2006?) but also the music director and the manager. The pretence(?) is a so-called financial scandal. I can't for the life of me imagine Fischer, just been on tour with the Bayern Philharmonic, being involved in anything remotely dodgy.

George S said...

I don't think Hungary is exactly in Germany's position, Gwilym, though some people there wish they were.

Some background to the Fischer story is here:

It doesn't seem Fischer was involved, and the whole business smells of politics to me. Which is, presumably, why Fischer resigned.

Interesting that the Budapest Times refers to the Hungarian daily, Magyar Nemzet, as 'right of centre'. It's about as right of centre as the BNP.

Gwilym Williams said...

as you are probably aware the Austrian media (Vienna where I am in situ is only 80kms from the Hungarian border) is always alert to the developing situation in Hungary. I'll keep you posted on what the view is from here. I understand the vote is on 13th December.

Gwilym Williams said...

Big story in Slovakia is about a brown bear prowling through a housing estate for the last week or so; he was shot. Snow is everywhere. I expect he was hungry. You might get some info if you go to my Austrian Times link and explore the links on there. No guarantees. Ihave the feeling it's monitored, perhaps even censored. A lot doesn't get on.

Anonymous said...

u r a fucking liar. but since u r a 'we-know-who' its understood...

dear szirtes gyuri! go back to the middle east...