A new opinion poll about the media law

Those observers who claimed that the average Hungarian cares only about his pocketbook are wrong again. According to the latest opinion poll by Medián, only a minority of Hungarians support the media law in its present form.

Although most Hungarians by now are so sick and tired of politics that they barely follow the news, if at all, 88% of people asked had heard about the law and the controversy surrounding it. First and foremost, the pollsters wanted to know what the subjects knew about the specifics of the law without any probing on their part. The spontaneous answers clustered around the defense of the morality of youngsters; the increase of Hungarian content in programming; new appointees at the public media outlets; decrease in reporting of criminal cases in the news; the appointment of the head of Media Authority for nine years; the very high fines the Media Council can impose; the Media Council's supervision not only of all the domestic media but also of the Internet; the members of the Council being all government appointees; and the centralization of all news available on public television stations and radios. The spread in the descriptions was considerable. The restriction of crime reporting was most frequently mentioned, followed by the heavy fines that can be imposed on media outlets. Fewer people mentioned the centralization of the news or the duration of the tenure of Annamária Szalai for nine years.

The people who took part in the survey were asked to put down their preferences on a sliding scale from 0 to 100. It seems that the increase of Hungarian content (50) and the defense of youngsters' morality (53) were quite popular. All other questions received grades under 50. The lowest approval rating was for the centralized news service at public radios and television (34). The average enthusiasm for the law's provisions was 45.

After finding out how much and what the subjects knew about the law, the pollsters were interested in what the population, according to party preferences, think of the extremely wide powers of the Media Authority. There were three possible answers: (1) such wide powers are warranted in order to supervise the media properly; (2) it is worrisome when a body which is not independent from the government has such wide authority; and (3) the person doesn't know. Not surprisingly 54% of Fidesz voters thought that such wide powers are necessary, but 33% thought that it was worrisome while 13% had no opinion. MSZP voters overwhelmingly rejected the the current shape and form of the Media Authority (86%) while only 9% approved. 58% of Jobbik voters disapproved but 34% thought that it was fine and dandy. In the case of LMP only 6% approved, 82% disapproved, and a surprisingly high number (12%) had no opinion. Among those who claimed that they had no party preference only 22% approved and 18% didn't know what to think. There were some who voted for other parties (I assume SZDSZ, MDF) and these people also had a low opinion of the media law (18%). In total, 35% of the sample approved, while 51% found it unacceptable and 14% had no opinion. So it seems that not only the media workers and the foreign governments are less than enthusiastic; only a third of the Hungarian population supports the wide authority of the Media Council wholeheartedly.

When Medián asked about the way the bill was presented and passed by parliament, only 25% of those asked thought that speedy passage without any consultation was appropriate. At the same time in every group, including the Fidesz voters, the majority considered it important that such a significant piece of legislation go through careful planning and consultation with different interest groups. Sixty percent of those asked thought that the time for preparation was too short and thus the law suffered.

Medián also wanted to know what Hungarians think of the possible effect of foreign criticism. There were three possible answers: (1) it can adversely affect Hungary's position in the world; (2) it makes no difference; and (3) the current increased attention will help Hungary's international standing. Only 31% of Fidesz voters think that the increased attention will damage Hungary's standing while 42% are convinced that all this criticism will not make any difference one way or the other. However, those who think that this international upheaval will enhance Hungary's standing is only 16%. In the case of MSZP voters the situation is naturally radically different. Among them only 3% think that all this criticism is good for Hungary while 77% think that it is injurious to the country's reputation. But even 65% of Jobbik voters seem to have enough sense to think that the international reaction to the media law is not good for the country. Interestingly enough, the ratio of LMP voters is very similar to that of Jobbik. Among all voters 46% of the people think that the foreign reception of the law is bad for Hungary, 30% think that it makes no difference, and only 10% feel that it is actually good for the country's reputation.

On the basis of this poll I think it would be a good idea for Fidesz to rethink their attempt to muzzle the media. It is attacked abroad and not supported at home. And I think that in a month or two, as a result of the introduction of what looks like a very severe austerity program, the support for the government might drop considerably and with it society's tolerance for strong-man tactics that are so obvious in this bill.

 

 

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Paul
Guest

If the Hungarian half of my family is at all representative, then core Fidesz voters think that the Media law is a good thing because:
It deals with the “overwhelming pro-MSzP bias in the media” and “stops the media telling lies about Fidesz”.
And it stops things being shown on TV that children shouldn’t see.
And that’s about it. They also claim that more Hungarian originated songs/programmes on radio and TV will be a good idea, but I always get the feeling that their hearts aren’t really in that. My dad-in-law is a fan of (what was) Sláger Rádío and I’m not sure if he’d be too impressed if his constant fix of old American and UK pop was to be replaced 30% of the time with Hungarian music!
As for negative reactions from outside (e.g. me!), these are always dismissed because “outsiders know nothing of what really goes on in Hungary”, and, anyway, “they are probably all MSzP sypathisers” – or capiltalists! – or part of that “international conspiracy” we dare not name…

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Paul: “If the Hungarian half of my family is at all representative, then core Fidesz voters think that the Media law is a good thing because: It deals with the “overwhelming pro-MSzP bias in the media” and “stops the media telling lies about Fidesz”.”
That’s funny because in fact the left-liberal side is practically nonexistent. KlubRadio, ATV, Nepszabadsag, Nepszava. That’s about it.

Paul
Guest

Éva – Fidesz supporters are not keen on mere facts getting in the way of their prejudices.
We have the same thing in the UK, where the press is overwhelmingly right-wing, so much so that the poor old middle of the road Guardian is seen as dangerously left-wing, and yet the Tories always attack the media for its”left-wing bias”!
If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes accepted as the truth.

Thomas
Guest

“On the basis of this poll I think it would be a good idea for Fidesz to rethink their attempt to muzzle the media. It is attacked abroad and not supported at home.”
I do not think FIDESZ cares about either of the opinion of people outside of Hungary or of the people inside of Hungary.
They have, are and will continue to do what they KNOW is best for THEM. The country does not matter.

Member
Paul: “They also claim that more Hungarian originated songs/programmes on radio and TV will be a good idea, but I always get the feeling that their hearts aren’t really in that. ” So, how many Hungarian films did they watch lately? Subsidies for Hungarian productions are totally scaled back, as well as the “Hungarian Hollywood” is dying a slow death with this political push and pull. Last month the country’s film finance body, the Hungarian Public Picture Foundation, dealt a hefty blow to filmmaking in the country by diverting funds away from independent outfits and instead channelling them through two official ministries: the Ministry of National Development and the newly created Ministry of National Economy, which received over $13 million between them. At the same time, as much Fidesz and its fan club is against “the outsed Hungarians”, they have appointed Andy Vajna as Government Commissioner for Hungarian Film Industry. This is from the Hollywood Reporter: “Hungary’s film industry entered a period of uncertainty last December when the government said it was cutting the budget of the Motion Picture Public Foundation, which had administered film funding for the last few years, from 6 billion forint ($29 million) in 2010 to… Read more »
The new speech of Gbor Vona
Guest
The new speech of Gbor Vona
Rigó Jancsi
Guest

If the polls show that a majority doesn’t like the media law, then why have there been only 10.000 two weeks ago, and last thursday even less, about 8.000 people at the demonstration on Kossuth tér?
They may not like the law, but it’s not a terrible enough law to get them onto the street. I guess most people have other problems, trying to survive with a Swiss-Franc-loan and a small salary, and don’t care about media law and politics in general.
Btw, next demonstration will be on March 15th. That’s a very symbolic date, and it might get more people involved.
I’ve cut some pictures of Thursday’s demonstration around Kafkaz’ song “Feri segiteni kell” which they performed during the demonstration:


Joseph Simon
Guest

Just recently former head of state Sólyom László has commented favourably on the state of democracy in Hungary. He is of the opinion that the reaction to the meadia laws is somewhat overblown. Hungary is in a dire economic situation, he added, that may require radical solutions, even if some measures might seem unconstitutional.

Member

Joseph S: ” [former head of state Sólyom László] added, that may require radical solutions, even if some measures might seem unconstitutional.” Well, that last sentence shows it all. Heck with the constitution, heck with the law, heck with everything that stand in the way to achieve what Fidesz wants on the way the Fidesz wants it. This statement tells more about the moral of the people who say it and agree with it, then the dire economical situation in Hungary.
Regarding The new speech of Gabor Vona.. I stopped listening or reading anything that comes out of his mouth long time ago to be honest. The only concern I have is the strengthening of the extreme right,and that people who have been disappointed for so very long will make them stronger. Hungary as an European Nation will not survive under the Jobbik.

Kirsten
Guest

@someone: “Joseph: Hungary is in a dire economic situation, he added, that may require radical solutions, even if some measures might seem unconstitutional.”
In my (admittedly limited) understanding, he said just the opposite of that. From index:
Az előadás legfontosabb kijelentése az volt, amikor a volt államfő arról beszélt, hogy a mostani kormány a súlyos gazdasági nehézségeket olyan intézkedésekkel próbálja orvosolni, amelyek alkotmányba ütközhetnek. Mint mondta, az Alkotmánybíróság kizárása e döntések felülvizsgálatából és az alkotmány hasonló célú módosítása idegen az alkotmányos kultúránk szellemétől és örökségétől.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Kirsten: “In my (admittedly limited) understanding, he [Sólyom] said just the opposite of that.”
Exactly! Facts, oh facts! Don’t matter.

Member

Kirsten: “In my (admittedly limited) understanding, he said just the opposite of that.”
In that case, I revise my feedback to: The altered statement Joseph Simon passed on to us as true, tells more about the moral of the person translated it, then the dire economical situation in Hungary.

Mutt Damon
Guest

I think Simon Jozsi quoted the MTI. Bummer. Joe, watch out what you’re reading.

Joseph Simon
Guest

Oh well, just remember what FDR did during the Depression, replacing the entire Supreme Court with his own yes-men. Tough times require radical solutions.

Joseph Simon
Guest

Also, just for your own enlightenment, please read what Chris Hedges has to say about the American media, controlled by the corporate elite, etc.

Mutt Damon
Guest

@Joe And your point is?

Paul
Guest

I’m really enjoying ‘Joseph Simon’ at the moment! Whoever is ‘handling’ Troll #2, they are gradually spiralling into madness.
First ‘he’ posts (for the third time!) an incomplete quote, which he uses to ‘prove’ almost the opposite of what the full quote said – despite the fact that this has already been pointed out to ‘him’!
Then ‘he’ dives for cover back into his USA fixation, which has nothing (NOTHING) to do with the concerns of this blog (which fact has also been pointed out to ‘him’, several times!).
If you were trying to parody a Fidesz troll, you wouldn’t do it this badly, because no one would believe you.
But, carry on ‘Joe’, it’s good to have something this daft to look forward to after a hard day.

Member

Joseph Simon: “Tough times require radical solutions.” Thank you for confirming that lying and deceiving the Hungarian public by falsifying official translated text is the solution the Fidesz empowers, and you wholeheartedly support. THanks for letting us know that anything you will say in the future or did say in the past could be a lie in order to deceive those who read this blog in order to get your point across any way you can. Readers should take note.

Mutt Damon
Guest

Actually it could make sense to bring up similarities in history of the US but comparing FDR to OV is something like comparing Leonardo DaVinci to Hitler. Both were painters. The FDR years during the new deal are pretty much the opposite what OV does to Hungary.
Regarding Chris Hedges Joe would shoot himself in the foot again if somebody would be bored enough to engage him. Here is a Huff. Post article about his latest opus probably that is what Joe picked up): http://huff.to/dY8teh

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Someone: “Readers should take note.”
By the way, FDR didn’t replace the whole Supreme Court. For a while he contemplated adding a few judges in order to change the balance between conservative and liberal judges but nothing came of it. A president cannot just fire judges and replace them with others.

Mutt Damon
Guest

He served 12 years. He actually appointed almost all of them during his term (with the senate’s approval of course).

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Mutt Damon: “He served 12 years. He actually appointed almost all of them during his term (with the senate’s approval of course).”
Of course, but this was the normal procedure.

Mutt Damon
Guest

Right. Typical Simon Jozsi style “Radio Yerevan” news.

GDF
Guest

someone:”Joseph Simon: “Tough times require radical solutions.” Thank you for confirming that lying and deceiving the Hungarian public by falsifying official translated text is the solution the Fidesz empowers, and you wholeheartedly support. THanks for letting us know that anything you will say in the future or did say in the past could be a lie in order to deceive those who read this blog in order to get your point across any way you can. Readers should take note.”
As if he had any doubts…

GDF
Guest

Sorry, what I meant to say: As if we had any doubts…

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