Monthly Archives: December 2010

The proposal governing the media became law

Just as some of you already reported in the "Comments," Pál Schmitt signed the media law. He signs anything put under his nose. Mind you, I believe that if he had received instructions from above not to sign, then he wouldn't have. In my opinion there may even have been a brief telephone conversation between Orbán Viktor and the president during which the former explained why it is absolutely necessary to sign.

As usual, commentators see the event from a variety of perspectives. There are those who never for a moment doubted … Read the rest

Chinese financing of Hungarian projects and sovereign debt

At the beginning of November I wrote about Viktor Orbán’s trip to Shanghai where he met the Chinese prime minister. In a fairly short meeting Orbán expressed his desire to expand economic and financial relations with China. A month later Tamás Fellegi, minister of national economic development, was named commissioner in charge of Chinese-Hungarian affairs. I might even have made a crack about this appointment’s being rather unfortunate. Earlier Fellegi was named commissioner in charge of the Russian-Hungarian negotiations and see what happened there. A disastrous visit by Viktor Orbán … Read the rest

Viktor Orbán’s views on the media law

Foreign journalists and politicians continue to press their case against the Hungarian media law. Let me call your attention to two pieces that appeared in The Washington Post yesterday and today. Yesterday's was an editorial entitled "Putinization of Hungary." Today an article appeared on the Op/Ed page by Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author specializing in Eastern Europe who happens to be the wife of Radoslaw Sikorski, foreign minister of Poland. The piece is entitled "Jeopardizing democracy in Hungary."

Naturally, Viktor Orbán has felt it necessary to respond to some … Read the rest

Hungary in the eyes of the concerned outsider, by S.K.

Last night I had dinner with a professor of demography and a historian. It was impossible to avoid discussion of what is happening in Hungary and what consequences can be expected from the developments there. The majority opinion was that the actual events themselves, as they unfold one by one, may not give cause for alarm, but in their combined effect they will certainly lead to some calamitous outcome.

The opinion of the demographer was that such departures from basic, established democratic practices will inevitably force the European Community to … Read the rest

Self-censorship at MTI

Although I've written quite a bit on the new Hungarian media law, I didn't touch on the part that deals with a peculiar new way of delivering news in the public, state-financed media. MTI, the official Hungarian news agency, will not only gather news but also edit the news and distribute it to Magyar Televízió (MTV), Duna Televízió, a station that serves the Hungarian disaspora, and Magyar Rádió (MR). Everything will be centralized. The same news can be heard on all three public media. Only the anchors will be different.

People … Read the rest