The Hungarian media and the local Harvey Weinstein case

Enemies of globalization have been fighting a losing battle. The world is indeed a big village where a Hollywood scandal can easily spark a very similar reaction in far-away Hungary. This is exactly what happened. Only a few days after the news broke about Harvey Weinstein’s 30 years of abuse in Hollywood, Lilla Sárosdi, an actress in Budapest, accused a very famous theater director of trying to take advantage of her 20 years earlier when she was still a naïve admirer of the already famous László Marton.

Marton began his … Read the rest

Karl Pfeifer: An interview with Zsuzsa Ferge on poverty in Hungary

Zsuzsa Ferge is the foremost Hungarian expert on poverty. By training she is an economist who has been working in the field of social statistics, sociology, and social policy. She became a full professor of sociology at ELTE in 1988 and a year later  established the first department of social policy.  Her main fields of interest have been social structure, social inequalities, education, and social policy. She is a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the European Academy, and the European Academy of Yuste Foundation. She is the recipient Read the rest

Another European summit, with special attention to the Visegrád 4

The official word sent by the Hungarian government to foreign news agencies about the meeting of the Visegrád 4 prime ministers with President Jean-Claude Juncker over a lavish dinner, which included Jerusalem artichokes and foie gras, was that the meeting was a “success.” Viktor Orbán claimed that the V4 leaders presented a united front on every issue and succeeded in demonstrating to the EC president that the V4 is “a tight, effective, and successful alliance.” It is almost certain that, over and above the migrant issue, the “accelerating drift … … Read the rest

MSZP’s Gergely Bárándy “debates”: Self-inflicted wounds

Fidesz politicians, who until very recently refused to debate their political opponents, suddenly developed an appetite for political discussions with politicians of MSZP. I haven’t noticed the same eagerness to exchange ideas with Gábor Vona of Jobbik or Bernadett Szél of LMP. But the Fidesz top-drawer strategists allowed Szilárd Németh to shout his way through a discussion, if you can call it that, with Zsolt Molnár of MSZP. Mind you, for that disaster I largely blame Egon Rónai of ATV, who seems to be utterly incapable of keeping order in … Read the rest

Intraparty affairs of the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP)

I decided to do some detective work inside the dark labyrinths of the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) after reading a brief news item about plans by Zsolt Gréczy, spokesman of the Demokratikus Koalíció (DK), to sue MSZP’s local organization in Szekszárd. His charge is that it “spread the falsehood on its official Facebook page that [Gréczy] conducted negotiations with Kálmán Horváth and István Horváth, Fidesz politicians, in the Heinmann Winery on October 13, Friday, at 2:00 p.m.” Gréczy stated that he spent the whole day in Budapest and that he … Read the rest

Freedom of the press in Hungary: an American critique

Today David J. Kostelancik, minister counselor and deputy chief of mission of the U.S. Embassy in Budapest, delivered a speech before members of the diplomatic corps and journalists at the headquarters of Magyar Újságírók Országos Szövetsége (MÚOSZ / National Association of Hungarian Journalists). This was the second time since the installment of Donald Trump as president of the United States that the new Republican government, through its Budapest embassy, made it clear publicly that, contrary to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s expectation, Washington is not at all happy about the state … Read the rest

On language and food

Today I will veer away from politics, to the extent that is ever possible, and write about two unrelated topics: the mode of address in Hungarian and food quality. For a long time I have found the first topic amusing; the second, irritating. The inspiration to write about them came from two opinion pieces, both in Magyar Nemzet.

Let’s start with the amusing one. I have been noticing more and more frequently that in radio and television interviews the interviewer and the interviewee can’t decide whether they are on formal … Read the rest