And while Magyar Nemzet was at it, the superb journalists working for the pro-government paper decided that they ought to finish off two other people who obviously irritate the Orbán government. So to speak, they wanted to kill three birds with one stone.
Let’s make one thing clear. Magyar Nemzet could never publish articles attacking Neelie Kroes and Hillary Clinton without specific permission from the government and, considering the hierarchical nature of Fidesz, that permission might come from Viktor Orbán himself.
Sure, attacking György Bolgár doesn’t need any permission. Attacks on Bolgár have been going on for years in the right-wing media. But this latest is different. The case of Klubrádió where Bolgár’s program is aired has become a cause célèbre, an international call for media freedom in Orbán’s new regime.
This latest attack began on February 17 when Tamás Pilhál, one of the more objectionable members of the staff of Magyar Nemzet, accused György Bolgár of amiably talking with a caller about “the liquidation” of President Pál Schmitt. I happened to listen to this conversation and I’m afraid that, as usual, Magyar Nemzet is not telling the truth. Anyone who’s interested in the topic should read Zsófia Mihancsik’s detailed analysis of both the article and the conversation that transpired on Bolgár’s program.
Magyar Nemzet immediately moved into high gear and phoned the office of Neelie Kroes in Brussels where they told Ryan Heath, Kroes’s spokesman, about a radio station where “death threats” are being discussed. According to the paper, Heath admitted that such threats are not part of democratic discussions but very prudently refused to comment on something about which he knew nothing, with the exception of Magyar Nemzet‘s dubious information.
But that wasn’t enough. Magyar Nemzet also phoned Ulrike Lunacek’s office and asked her opinion about what happened on the Bolgár program. Lunacek very rightly refused to comment, but the right-wing journalists were not discouraged. They were also curious what Martin Schulz thinks of the affair. They describe the paper’s efforts in an article entitled “To Kroes all that is not important.” In it one can read that “Neelie Kroes, who is so worried about the freedom of the press, not long ago welcomed György Bolgár in her office.” In the end Magyar Nemzet had to be satisfied with reporting Klubrádió and György Bolgár to the Media Authority, asking them to investigate.
Magyar Nemzet‘s staff had to be frustrated after getting nowhere in Brussels, so they decided to discredit the key players. Neelie Kroes was the prime target. And, voilà, yesterday W[underli] L[ászló] gleefully reported that he had found an article in European Voice that appeared sometime in 2010 from which he learned that Bram Peper, the former husband of Neelie Kroes, accused his wife of listening to fortune tellers and astrologists before making decisions. And if that weren’t enough, Kroes, according to Magyar Nemzet, rented office space in the mansion of Jan-Dirk Paarlberg, a wealthy Dutch real estate developer, who had spent four and a half years in jail for money laundering and blackmail. This, WL adds, is the woman who welcomed in her office András Arató and György Bolgár while she wasn’t interested in the opinion of the Hungarian authorities.
The third “bird” is U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Today another article appeared by L[óska] M[árton] headlined “Clinton tried to induce [Viktor Orbán] to commit a crime.” According to the journalist, “liberal interpretation of the law is not unknown in American diplomacy.” A recent example of such behavior is Hillary Clinton’s urging that Viktor Orbán interfere in Klubrádió’s frequency dispute. This is just another example of American diplomatic behavior that is manifest in the published documents of WikiLeaks. The article also mentions that the U.S. Embassy practically ordered Gyula Budai, the chief investigator of corruption cases, to report on the investigation of former prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsány. This was Budai’s first version of the encounter, which he has since substantially revised, but such corrections never bothered Magyar Nemzet very much.
Since I have on hand the facsimile of Hillary Clinton’s letter, which I published here earlier, let’s see what kind of criminal activity Hillary Clinton suggested to Viktor Orbán. Clinton had this to say about the whole Media Law issue. “As for the Media Law, we share concerns expressed by the OSCE, Freedom House, and a recent international mission of press experts that the law concentrates too much power in the hands of a politically-appointed Media Council. Also, the recent non-renewal of a popular talk radio station’s license raises concerns about the commitment to ensure diverse voices in the media realm.”
The question is why the Orbán government decided to launch a joint attack against a powerful member of the European Commission and the U.S. Secretary of State. One would think that the Hungarian government is in enough hot water without such ugly assaults on well-known international political figures. I’m sure that government spokesmen if pressed would invoke freedom of the press in Hungary which the government cannot influence. But both the politicians of the European Union and the diplomats of the United States must know full well that Magyar Nemzet is the mouthpiece of the current Hungarian government. If the government has some other domestic agenda, I can assure them that this is a very dangerous way of trying to influence domestic opinion or the court that is handling the case between Klubrádió and the Media Authority.
And finally, Klubrádió’s financial situation is really dire. András Arató, CEO of Klubrádió, will be appreciative of every penny they receive. And yes, Klubrádió uses PayPal.
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To Whom It May Concern:
Klubrádió continues its struggle for staying alive and fight for free press in Hungary. The battle goes on not only against the Hungarian media authority for the licence but against the financial blockade as well. Government offices and state-owned companies have been instructed to exclude Klubrádió from their entire advertising market. In addition a great part of the private participants of the market don’t have the courage to appear in the oppositional media.
These circumstances lead Klubrádió to a very critical financial situation. We have to turn to the citizens of the world for assistance. Even the smallest donation helps us to survive this difficult period.
I ask you to help to pass on our request to friends and acquaintances.
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The information on PayPal is unfortunately well hidden on Klubrádió’s website. So, here is the link:
You will see the following: “Örökbefogadás online fizetéssel” and click on “Donate.”