DRI: Monitoring Hungarian TV coverage of the refugee referendum

Yesterday, I offered my impressionistic assessment of the Magyar Televizíó’s bias in its presentation of the refugee crisis and the referendum, which was supposed to save Hungarians from the curse of a Muslim invasion. But, as I wrote yesterday, I watched the programming for only an hour, just before the polls closed. I interpreted the frantic tone of the reporting as a last, desperate attempt to change what by then looked like an inevitability: an invalid referendum. But, as you can see below, thanks to Democracy Reporting International (DRI), which is a Berlin-based think tank, today we have an objective, scientific assessment of M1 as a propaganda tool of the government. I should add that ATV and HirTV can be viewed only by cable subscribers.

I know that some of you think that “no one watches Channel M1,” but that is incorrect. According to a 2015 survey, M1 is the fourth most often watched channel after RTL Klub, TV2, and Duna TV. Channel M1’s audience is around 1.8-1.9 million people; ATV has about 1.2 million viewers. At that time HírTV didn’t even make it in the top fifteen.

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Hungary’s public TV backed government position 95% of the time during EU-refugee referendum – new research

Hungary’s state-owned TV network M1 showed a strong pro-government bias in primetime news programming during the referendum campaign on EU refugee quotas, despite a legal duty to show balanced coverage. New research published today reveals that 95% of airtime allotted to refugees and the referendum endorsed the government’s position, and 91% of related news items were negative about refugees.

infograph2

The study, which monitored news across the country’s five main TV stations from 8 – 22 September, found the state broadcaster also allotted the greatest airtime and prominence to refugees and the referendum. M1 headlined with related issues in 86% of news shows, as well as dedicating 42% of news programming – more than double the average amount of time allotted by all five channels at 18%.

infograph1

Michael Meyer-Resende, DRI Executive Director, says: “The staggering amount of airtime and prominence, not to mention the biased tone and lack of balanced debate, makes M1 seem like an extension of the ruling party’s no campaign. For six years Viktor Orbán has systematically dismantled democratic checks and balances. We’re seeing the results of that now.”

TV2, a station bought earlier this year by businessman Andrew Vajna with close government ties, exhibited the second strongest pro-government bias.

infograph3

Table 1: tone of news items on refugees in the referendum context 

The percentage of news items dealing with the refugee issue and the referendum based on the overall tone (negative, neural, or positive) of each item.

Channel Negative Neutral Positive
M1 91 9 0
TV2 83 4 13
RTL 42 46 12
ATV 65 30 5
HírTv 36 35 29

Table 2: number of news items covering refugees and the referendum

The number and share of individual news items on the refugee issue and the referendum by television channel.

Channel M1 Tv2 RTLKlub ATV HírTv
Number 154 46 30 62 80
Share 41% 12% 8% 17% 22%

Table 3: airtime allotted to refugees and the referendum

The average length of news items dealing with the refugee issue and the referendum by news programmes (in minutes), and the share of total news programming on each channel.

Channel M1 Tv2 RTLKlub ATV HírTv
Length (min) 23.3 5.4 3.4 5.9 9.9
Share of airtime 42% 10% 5% 17% 18%

Table 4: prominence allotted to refugees and the referendum

The slot in which news items dealing with the refugee issue and the referendum first appear among all topics in a given news show.

Channel M1 Tv2 RTLKlub ATV HírTv
1st news item 86 0 0 50 29
2nd – 5th news item item 14 0 7 43 64
6th or subsequent item 0 100 93 7 7

Table 5: percentage airtime that supports the government’s position

The proportion of time allotted to presentations of positions that favour the government’s stance in terms of dealing with the refugee issue and the referendum.

Channel M1 Tv2 RTLKlub ATV HírTv
Percentage of time that supports or promotes the government’s position 95% 89% 39% 46% 53%
Percentage of time that supports or promotes a position that is different to the government’s 5% 11% 61% 54% 47%

Table 6: average airtime that support’s the government’s position 

The average time allotted, respectively, to the presentations of positions that favour the government’s stance and of positions that differ from the government’s view, dealing with the refugee issue and the referendum (in seconds).

Channels M1 Tv2 RTLKlub ATV HírTv
Average length of content that supports/promotes the government’s position 118 55 29 38 40
Average length of content that supports/promotes a position that differs from that of the government 6 7 46 44 35

Table 7: percentage of news items that show plurality of voice

The share of news items which feature both voices which endorse the government’s view and voices which promote a view that differs from that propounded by the government.

Channels M1 Tv2 RTLKlub ATV HírTv
The joint appearance of conflicting opinions 6% 30% 47% 21% 26%

Table 8: percentage of news items that encourage voter turnout

Share of news items that deal with the issue of turning out to vote as a percentage of all news items that address the referendum.

  Encourages to turn out Encourages not to vote Both Not mentioned
M1 76% 10% 6% 8%
TV2 46% 0% 29% 25%
RTL 15% 8% 8% 69%
ATV 19% 19% 17% 45%
HírTv 19% 8% 16% 57%

Table 9: percentage of news items that encourage voting a certain way

Share of news items that encourage viewers to vote a certain way as a percentage of all news items that address the referendum (or also refer to the referendum).

  Encourages to vote “no” Encourages to vote “yes” Encourages to submit an invalid vote  Presents several potential viewpoints Does not indicate how one should vote 
M1 59% 7% 0% 7% 27%
TV2 42% 4% 0% 21% 23%
RTL 8% 0% 0% 15% 77%
ATV 14% 6% 0% 19% 61%
HírTv 11% 0% 5% 11% 27%

Notes

The statistics are based on monitoring the evening news shows of five national television channels between 8 and 22 September. M1 is state-owned public television, TV2 is controlled by businessman and ally of the Prime Minister Andrew Vajna, RTLKlub is owned by Germany’s RTL Group, ATV is controlled by evangelical church ‘Faith Church,’ and HirTV is controlled by Lajos Simicska, former ally of the Prime Minster, now opposed.

RTLKlub (9%), Tv2 (7%) and M1 (5%) drew a significant share of viewers, while the two satellite channels boasted smaller ratings (approx. 2%). This research was commissioned by Democracy Reporting International and carried out by Mertek Media Monitoring Budapest.

October 4, 2016
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Reality Check
Guest

Audience share of stations available to Hungarians.

2016 Stats, sourcecomment image
The %’s at the link are more up to date then what I posted, but the ranking and percentages are very similar.

Position Channel Group Share of total viewing (%)
1 RTL Klub RTL Group 19.1
2 TV2 TV2 Group 10.8
3 Cool TV RTL Group 4.8
4 Film+ RTL Group 4.6
5 Mozi+ TV2 Group 3.7
6 RTL II RTL Group 3.6
7 Super TV2 TV2 Group 2.6
8 PRIME TV2 Group 2.6
9 Duna TV MTVA 2.3
10 Comedy Central Viacom 2.2
11 Viasat 3 Sony Pictures Entertainment 2.2
12 ATV Faith Church, Hungary 1.7
13 Paramount Channel Hungary Viacom 1.7
14 M1 MTVA 1.7
15 M4 Sport MTVA 1.7
16 RTL+ RTL Group 1.6
17 AXN Sony Pictures Entertainment 1.5
18 STORY4 Central 1.3
19 STORY5 Central 1.3
20 M3 MTVA 1.2
21 Discovery Channel Discovery Networks 1.1
22 M2 MTVA 1.0
23 Viasat 6 Sony Pictures Entertainment 0.9
24 National Geographic Channel FOX Networks International 0.8
25 Spektrum AMC Networks International 0.8
26 Sorozat+ RTL Group 0.7
27 AMC AMC Networks International 0.7
28 Sport 1 AMC Networks International 0.6
29 GALAXY Central 0.6
30 Film+ 2 RTL Group 0.6
31 Film Cafe AMC Networks International 0.5
32 Duna World MTVA 0.5
33 TLC Discovery Networks 0.5
34 Life Network Origo Media 0.5
35 Disney Channel The Walt Disney Company 0.5
36 Nickelodeon Hungary Viacom 0.5
37 Sláger TV Tematic Cable 0.5
38 Sport 2 AMC Networks International 0.5
39 Ozone Network Origo Media 0.4
40 TV Paprika AMC Networks International 0.4
41 Muzsika TV RTL Group 0.3
42 M5 MTVA 0.3
43 Nick Jr. Viacom 0.3
44 Izaura TV TV2 Group 0.3
45 DoQ Tematic Cable 0.3
46 Minimax AMC Networks International 0.3
47 ID Xtra Discovery Networks 0.3
48 Film Mania AMC Networks International 0.3
49 Nat Geo Wild FOX Networks International 0.2
50 FOX FOX Networks International 0.2
51 Cartoon Network Turner 0.2
52 VIVA Hungary Viacom 0.1
53 FEM3 TV2 Group 0.1
54 Spektrum Home AMC Networks International 0.1
55 Boomerang Turner 0.1

Member

I have no idea what point you are trying to make with your long post.
You missed out the HBO channels btw, which I know it rates higher than lots of your filtered statistics.

The bigger picture is, there are very few options to get international TV media in Hungary. UPC or Telecom are the 2, I know.

Outside Budapest, most people are stuck with the 5 national propaganda channels.

I also watched M1 coverage on the referendum day. The bias was shocking!

In the studio, the background image was silhouettes of people holding guns,
The ‘roving’, reporter, was, in theory, in Belgrade, with refugees / migrants, awaiting the outcome of a fictional referendum. Which, if Hungary lost, would cause them to somehow jump the razor wire and invade Hungary.

This fake propaganda madness is a key part of the Fidesz control system.
The EU should recognise it for what is, fascist incitement.

webber
Guest

Everyone I know outside of Budapest – this includes village dwellers – gets RTL, not just the five national propaganda channels.

I am glad for the long post. It gives viewing statistics, and demonstrates the huge waste of money that Hungarian state t.v. is. Almost nobody is watching it. It would not survive for ten minutes without state subsidies.

pappp
Guest
Webber, people in rural communities do watch M1, maybe not exclusively but they trust the state TV. It’s on TV, you see, so it must be true. Many people just can’t tell the difference between a news item and a scripted show. Maybe you heard about it: in the 1980’s there was a Brazilian soap opera titled Izaura – which is still such a strong brand that the Hungarian state tv recently named a new channel after that character. Hungarians seriously raised funds so that poor Isaura who was a slave in the TV series could be freed. I kid you not. RTL alone cannot compensate for TV2 and the state TV channels where you get some made up story about lurking terrorists in every break of the European Football Championship. Especially as RTL is not anti-government, it is not even critical of the government – the detente with the government works just as we suspected. RTL made a deal with the government and like a nice German corporation abides by its conditions. Whatever the situation the state/Fidesz media empire succeeded to persuade millions about the dangers of the migrants and the dangers of the EU which is hell bent… Read more »
webber
Guest

pappp… then how is it that a majority in rural areas also did not vote, hmmm?
Don’t generalize about country bumpkins, please. Some are as you suggest, others obviously are not.

webber
Guest

Pappp You’ve gone back to your silly mantra that “Orban is winning.” It’s boring, and it’s wrong.
A couple of days ago the referendum results surprised you. If you think about it, you’ll recall some mid-term election results that also surprised you.
Maybe it’s time for you to re-examine the data? (as you did just after the referendum).

pappp
Guest

I said that in rural areas the propaganda machinery worked. You cannot deny that. Not only Charlie but it was me too who said that in Western Hungary people are still pro-Orban.

The propaganda also worked on the Fidesz-Jobbik camp which otherwise might not have been so pathologically anti-migrant.

The referendum was a nice defeat for Orban. This is good news. Great news even. I’m very happy about it.

But that’s it. It should not be overvalued and Orban’s power underestimated.

You cannot compare the current situation to the Kadar system media situation because that system was not “smart” about propaganda any more, it did not specifically incite hatred, paranoia, fear in a way this current media environment does. It was only limiting access. Now the methods are different and are much more effective (Pomerantsev: “Nothing is true and everything is possible”) – even if luckily this time it did not work (to the extent that people didn’t vote, but they still hate migrants).

webber
Guest

The two counties in Western Hungary are an anomaly. You know that very well. They sticks out as different from all other rural areas.
Your generalizations wrong and (worse) getting very very boring.

webber
Guest

Sorry – fast typing: They stick out as different from all other rural areas. Your generalizations are wrong and (worse) getting very boring.

Orbán lost everywhere in the country. You admitted it yourself two days ago.

The latest data I saw showed that Orban failed to mobilize 50% even in those two anomalous counties. He lost even there.

Please stop boring us all with your (repeatedx10) defeatism, and start coming up with something new.

pappp
Guest

Also I’m not a defeatist. Far from it. I actually think there is now a rare opening in the political space which did not exist 2 or 4 years go. Orban is weakened. But this is a totally separate issue from his influence over the everyday lives of average, rural people or even middle class people of some Western counties.

webber
Guest

No, it is not totally separate. It is tightly connected.

There is no other way to read your comments but defeatism. Read them for yourself and see.

What is going on with you today? You’re like a stuck record playing the same lines over and over again, but the odd thing is that they are the lines you played prior to the referendum.

Guest

It#s the “rich people” there which make their money off the German and Austrian tourists and are at the same time xenophobic like hell – a kind of medieval Catholic sect …

Guest

Re: ‘Kadar…did not specifically incite…
hatred, paranoia, fear etc’

Things sure were quiet as a church door mouse in my estimation. And still waters run deep.

Kadar, that masterful political physician fined tuned his inoculation of the country which seemingly balanced the East and Western infections that were affecting the country. Then he was working with much much less media. And sometimes less is more. Kadar didn’t have to deal with all the media noise of today. In any case I’d suggest that today he’d do no different than VO… grab and get what you can. Why look for trouble from the masses? Grabbing media now is first in ‘getting things done’ on the first illiberalist primer page.

Guest

My friend’s neighbors in a small village said they “had too much to do” to vote. My friend and his wife were coerced into voting in Budapest by his mother- in-law. They voted ‘yes/no’.

Guest

It wasn’t the recent propaganda that moved the people in Zala – we know some of them and they have been bigoted since …

I already told the story of two of my wife’s friends here in/near Hévíz:

They are successful, make good money and their children even more – working and living as economic migrants in DACH!

they call themselves Christians and are the most xenophobic people I’ve ever seen!
Trump and Pence would be proud of them!

A bit OT:
Found this article on the ugly medieval spirit of Pence – in the Cosmopolitan!
Now that was a real surprise, because I remember my sister always calling it the “Cosmopuritan” …
http://www.cosmopolitan.com/politics/a4494411/mike-pence-anti-abortion-views/

Ferenc
Guest

“EU should recognise it for what is”
But how can not Hungarian speaking people ever understand/recognise what’s going on in Hungary at the moment?
Best way seems to me, to plainly translate (into, English, French, German) all info distributed by the government, and make this available for all Europeans to read, watch and understand. Possibly wih actual figures about quatity of this distribution (for example number of billboards, leaflets, etc).
Anybody interested in doing this? I like to help!!

webber
Guest

Ferenc – all foreign embassies, without exception, have staff who speak Hungarian and consume Hungarian media. The bigger Western governments (US, UK, prob. Germany, poss. France) get news from all major Hungarian newspapers translated every day. These translations are not available to the general public, but they are to foreign service staff.
All these governments know very well what is going on.
Only the European public doesn’t know too well, but the European public doesn’t care that much about what is happening outside their own countries (and that is perfectly normal and okay).

Guest

And the (probably small …) part of the public that is interested in Hungary at all knows it too – just remember all those scathing reports from our magazine SPIEGEL that I linked to (and the Süddeutsche Zeitung etc …)!

Istvan
Guest
Webber the NSA also has avaiable to it translation software that is far more advanced than what is commercially available to the public. It’s called CYBERTRANS and translates Hungarian very well from the version I saw years ago, far more advanced than let us say google translate. It even restructures word order in sentences. A well-trained human translator still produces better material than the most expensive, specially trained computer-based translation system. However, the gap between the two is narrowing. I have not seen the current versions of CYBERTRANS but it is my understanding that in can now also produce rapid relatively sophisticated translation of radio and TV broadcasts in over 100 languages in either text or robotic voices with a variety of accents. My understanding is that specialized US Army Ranger units now have the ability to translate highly effectively in the field when necessary in several languages see this public information https://defensesystems.com/articles/2015/08/07/army-translation-device-africa-french-dialects.aspx?m=2 NSA and military intelligence translators no longer sit at a desk with a printed copy of a text to one side of the keyboard and some dictionaries or other resources to the other. In fact many translators they work primarily if not exclusively with electronic source material… Read more »
Istvan
Guest

I guess I probably should disclose that while in the Army I attended the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center located at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas as do many Officers and enlisted personnel. That is where I became familiar with the various systems used that are continually evolving.

I would say simply that the US via one security agency or another has access to everything in broadcast, print, or electronic media in all Central European countries and Russia in close to real time. I suspect that virtually all blogs and tweets are monitored using a robotic basis for key phrases. This is publicly known from the Wikileaks documents.

Guest

I agree and with that the ‘data mining’ that comes with it. The interesting fact is that it is the ‘agencies’ though that are much much more informed than in the case of the American public when it comes to Central Europe events and personages. Ask anybody here say on a survey which asks who is Vik Orban? Perhaps we might be lucky if 1 out of 10 could place the fellow. And maybe 1 or 2 might put in he ‘invented Ikea’.

I’d suggest that that lack of knowledge mitigates against the US when it comes to present positions in context of what actually is going on there now. It makes it a problem for Americans to really understand then how some small nations there are taking Europe into some entirely new directions after the Wall went down. And with that a future that also has consequences for America as well. Right now small fires have been smoking in some Euro hinterlands. Not all Americans smell it but some here certainly do.

Istvan
Guest

The average US citizen is let us say provincial, as I have indicated most are not multilingual beyond Spanish. Even though we all have access to non-US based media that communicates in English very few utilize that option.

The readers of this blog who live in the USA are far more informed about the realities of Central Europe than most citizens.

Guest

Yes and I for one have been put up to speed on the perilous sliide due to Prof’s site.

Many of us aren’t asleep with what’s going on but for the most part I cant help thinking of Rick of Casblanca fame whose response to the line ‘ I’d bet they’re asleep in NY was, ‘I’d bet they’re asleep all over America’.

webber
Guest

The average citizen of most countries is provincial. Those who live in small countries are more likely to have visited neighboring ones – but that is the only difference. They are still as provincial as S. Texans or N. Dakotans who live on the Canadian border.

Ferenc
Guest
Let me explain: I was end of August a few days in Budapest, I understand basic Hungarian, and I could not believe what I saw. All those billboards with very little truth in them, organised by the government for a by the government (not the people) requested referendum. Back home I tried to follow what was going on, also followed what was in the local news here about it, very little and mostly missing the point about the enormous propaganda. So the referendum itself was a joke, but the propaganda around it terrified me. I was also asked several times what I knew about what was going on in Hungary, when I told what I had seen, it was completely new to them, that had never seriously been reported outisde of Hungary. So my point is let it be known outside of Hungary what the government’s messages are, by literally translating them and making it available to all people outside of Hungary. As you say most Europeans (and also non-Europeans) don’t care, well that’s true and normal, but even then they are not able to get a glimpse of it because they don’t understand Hungarian. Think about all the children… Read more »
Ferenc
Guest

PS: the starting slogan was:
“Üzenjünk Brüsszelnek, hogy ők is megértsék” –
“Let’s send message to Brussels, so that even they understand”
And do the European representatives know how that “message” was prepared within Hungary?
I don’t know, but I haven’t got any indication that they did.

Guest

Ferenc, we live in a village near Hévíz and visited Budapest just once this September and I absolutely share your feelings!

Those billboards plus the regular brochures in the mail plus the ads in all kinds of papers were totally creepy!

It felt like we were really living in a dictatorship where you’re told what to think – often Orwell’s books came to mind.

But of course life (and business …) goes on as usual – it was a kind of surreal experience.

PS:
And many of the billboards haven’t been taken down yet.

Ferenc
Guest

About those billboards: there has to be paid a normal fee or is there a certain number free to the government/municipalities for so called “public service announcements”?
Who’s officially responsible for those billboards??

Guest

They are all owned by Orban’s oligarchs – and don’t forget the lamp posts – owned by municipalities – mostly sympathetic to Orban and Fidesz.

(Didn’t you understand this when you voted at the elections?)

Just like the print media……. The TV companies….. Radio…..

And the judiciary……

And……..

Reality Check
Guest

This gives you an idea of what portion of the population is watching government media. It provides additional context for Eva’s post.

Not sure why my comment deserves criticism.

webber
Guest

Thank you, Reality Check. It’s good to see audience shares (which naturally include the whole nation – BudapestCalling – even villages). It just demonstrates what a colossal waste of money Hungarian state t.v. is.

Guest

Some real disappointing tv stats there put out by DRI.

Not sure if DRI gets into the digital research sphere as well but it would be interesting to gauge the effect of how social media action surrounding those networks amplifies the influence and message content inherent in the reporting by those networks.

That ‘co-action’ paradigm has to show supposed open and free dialogue in a much more tightened grip than what exists on the surface. More and more media digital media can be looked upon now as ‘amping’ message influence and opinion in the much biased news reporting not only in television but in other media as well.

Reality Check
Guest

Thanks – not sure why some one would assume I am posting filtered stats.

Anyone who knows my comments knows I do not support the OV regime.

Member

I can see now why that is valid information, so it was a good reality check.

Guest

These stats prove what everybody knows – North Korean State TV! Fidesz is surely working hard at making its viewing obligatory …

Guest
London Calling! It must be the ‘quality’ of Hungarian friends – but nobody turns the TV off if we visit. It’s ever present in the background and on some channels Dear Leader Viktor pops up – with his awful droning voice which sounds as if he’s been recorded in the kharsi (Bathroom to our USA friends!) And pops up quite often. I would have liked to have seen a DLVA index for each channel! (DLVA = Dear Leader Viktor Appearance) It’s not unusual to have to fit conversation, eating and socialising around an episode of a soap opera. Silence and enforced viewing – it’s even more difficult for me because you see how really terrible the acting is when you can’t understand the language. I know HirTV has allegedly signed up to the ‘BBC Charter’ – but I doubt if their figures come up to scratch. This is shocking propaganda – and I recently heard a so-called think tank here in the UK – Sheila Lawlor – defend Orban and Hungary as being democratic! It’s no wonder that Merkel and Schultz only believe that a Parliament is democracy – without understanding that a free press and media, inter alia, are… Read more »
Guest

Charlie, re Merkel and Schulz.
They both have used clear words on Hungary re freedom of the press etc – and on the referendum too. It’s all over the German media – you might even use the word “Schadenfreude”!
Hasselborn (remember him) said concerning the referendum ‘s invalidity:
“Das ist kein guter Tag für Herrn Orban und kein so schlechter Tag für Ungarn und die EU.”
and another politician from the EP:
dass sich Orbán bei der Abstimmung eine Ohrfeige eingehandelt habe.
O got a smack from the Hungarian people!
Even the conservative Christian Social Union is happy that O’s hate propaganda was not successful!
http://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/referendum-in-ungarn-schulz-dank-des-ungarischen-volkes-wurde-schaden-von-europa-abgewendet-1.3189029

webber
Guest

Always just words, Wolfi, and then Merkel’s party protects Orban. They talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk.
Her or rather her party’s record is of repeated protection of Fidesz. They have blocked sanctions against Hungary again and again and again (look it up online if you don’t recall, or don’t believe me).

Guest

There’s a long way to sanctions – I’m not an EU insider so I can’t tell how they could be arrived at. But I know that Mrs Merkel walks a thin line -you have to remember her partners’ positions too.

Maybe she’s thinking: Wtf, as long as the AudM, Mercedes and Opel cars are produced on time it’s really the Hungarian people’s problem …

PALIKA
Guest

nol.hu reports this morning EU maybe about to turn off the cash tap. That may make a radical rethink in Budapest a reality. But maybe without the cash flow the next move is out and into the arms of Putin. Full circle?

webber
Guest

Hard to square that circle, though I’ve no doubt that the Great O will try.
The problem for him is that the majority of average Fidesz voters are for EU membership, and even the most dedicated of his MPs know that.
And where will Orbán’s minions and oligarchs get more money, if not EU funding?

Russia is drawing on its reserves at the moment. Keeping up the war in Ukraine isn’t cheap, nor is the struggle in Syria. Oil has been down for a long time, and is hovering around $50 a barrel. Many Russian wells barely break even at $70.

Elsewhere, Sweden (not Germany, Sweden!) is threatening to take the Hungarian government to court for not fulfilling its responsibilities in taking back refugees who first registered in Hungary. Story here:
https://euobserver.com/migration/135367

But the Great O never seems to take his foot off the gas, even when he’s heading for a brick wall.

Guest

Germany supports (although not admittedly) Orbán.

pappp
Guest
The EU will never ever turn off the tap. Don’t even dream about it. This is not how the world works. At every step of the way the EU and Germany consistently proved that they are willing to give up even the most minimal leverage over the corrupt Orban (who is intent on destroying the EU from within) in exchange for empty promises from him saying that he will, this time really he will “be nicer” (whatever that means). And then he does it again, and again. Germany is about to direct Brussels to rubberstamp Paks 2 and so on. Orban promised to purchase Siemens stuff and this along with some vague promises are enough for Germany. If you think that Brussels or Merkel (German government) are capable of acting in any way tough and consistent you are dreaming. Not happening. It’s 2016 so high time to wake up. Orban doesn’t give a sh*t about Brussels or Germany. He cares about Putin not just because he like Putin but because he know that Putin is has no sense of humor. If he says he is turning off the tap, you can be sure as sh*t he will. This cash issue… Read more »
Gabor Toka
Guest
First of all it is good to see that DRI – one of just two German institutions listed on the (extremely mixed) list of OSCE network partners, see http://osce-network.net/members/institutions/democracy-reporting-international-dri/ – did this analysis. But they should have included Duna TV, which is the main channel of public television now that M1 is just a 24-hour news channel. I would have also distinguished more clearly in the presentation between news channels like HirTV, ATV and M1 on the one hand, and general programming entertainment channels like Duna, RTL and TV2 on the other, because otherwise it is meaningless to compare the attention they gave to the issue. I also find their results regarding TV2 a bit half-cooked: it would have deserved some reflection how the findings of Table 1 and Table 6 are consistent with Table 5 and Table 7 regarding that particular channel. As an aside, I am afraid that the DRI report has ways too much political opinion in the summary at the beginning and too little in the way of methodological detail and nuance later on to carry the weight that the work done by their Hungarian partner – who apparently did the actual work for the analysis… Read more »
webber
Guest

Gabor – “I would have….” So why don’t you do it? Why didn’t you?
Savanyú a szőlő?
Ne irigykedjünk.

webber
Guest

OT – A higher percentage of Hungarians living outside Hungary voted in the referendum than Hungarians inside Hungary. That is, I believe, impossible – but the impossible happened. Why is it impossible? Because Hungarians outside Hungary weren’t exposed to the propaganda, and because Hungarians outside Hungary surely do not care more than Hungarians living in the country about what happens in Hungary.
Now comes the very strange bit – “At least 16% of Hungarians abroad who voted submitted invalid votes” – but unlike Hungarians in Hungary, they didn’t do it intentionally. Instead “many of them made mistakes when filling out out the identifying declaration – most frequently, they listed their own mother’s name imprecisely.”

Who does not know his own mother’s name? How is it possible that so many Hungarians outside Hungary don’t know their own mother’s name???? If that is not indirect proof of massive cheating by Fidesz, I do not know what is.

(In Hungarian “az érvénytelenségi arány legalább 16 százalékos lesz, mert sokan hibásan töltötték ki az azonosító nyilatkozatot – elsősorban édesanyjuk nevét tüntették fel pontatlanul.”+ó)
Story here: http://nol.hu/belfold/nem-kampanyolt-elegge-kulfoldon-a-fidesz-1634805

pappp
Guest

The ethnic Hungarian voting is a machinery of fraud. It’s ridiculous that the opposition or any journalist does not go after that.

But I guess many people in the letters used a different name, not their mother’s full maiden name (often two Christian names not only the one used everyday), using a Romanian version, not a Hungarian version (or vica versa).

Requiring your mother’s maiden name is a bit of a Hungarian specialty. People from Western Europe always had problems with it in my experience. I don’t know about Romania or Serbia but they too may not be used to this.

Voters would’ve had to give the exact (letter to letter) version which is registered by the Hungarian authorities. If anything is missing the vote is invalid. For Romanians their address is also not updated automatically in the Hungarian systems. They may have moved in the last year or two gave their new address but their old address was registered in Hungary. Invalid.

The “good news”: Orban can amend the laws so that in 2018 no such problems will arise. Better to know now Orban can argue.

webber
Guest

Pappp – all they had to do was write the name of their mother as they wrote it when they first registered… And somehow they did not know that? Puhlease!

The suggestion you’ve made that this was somehow difficult because of Romanian or whatever language is just silly.
It’s doubly silly because of laws in Romania and Slovakia, which allow ethnic Hungarians to write their names in all documents as they wish, regardless of the majority language’s rules (this is a right the EU foisted on a kicking and screaming Slovakia – Romania granted it without trouble).

pappp
Guest

I have asked numerous clients over the years to send me their mother’s maiden names (Western European investors). I can tell you from experience that 50% did not get the instruction for the first time. My English isn’t perfect etc. but they often gave only the family name etc.

webber
Guest

Getting worse and worse…

That is because Western European and American investors are not used to that question. It is not asked in other countries – certainly not in the US or GB.
Mother’s name? Peterson (and I assure you, they are scratching their heads when they answer it)

In this region, by contrast, EVERYONE is used to the question. Every citizen of Romania is used to it. Every Hungarian.

You appear to be trying to find an answer for Fidesz. Stop, please. It’s embarrassing.

THEY CHEATED, and this “mistake” with the mother’s name is ironclad evidence of that. Everyone in Romania knows his mother’s name.

Again – all they had to do was enter the name on the paper as they had entered it when they initially registered to vote. And what happened? They didn’t know it…. They got it wrong…

If it were just one case, okay, some idiot couldn’t remember. But according to the Népszabadság article, it happened en masse.
That is impossible.

webber
Guest

Really, asking a Westerner for his mother’s name is just as ridiculous as when Hungarians expect to get a stamp on an official document from an organization based in a Western country.
It isn’t done! Stamps are so easy to falsify – what is the point, anyway, in the digital age? Can you tell me? They were dropped by most Western organizations back in the 1970s.
Westerners do signatures and addresses, and sometimes personal numbers (SSN, that sort of thing).
Okay, your clients may be investing in Hungary, and in Hungary they have to provide this information – but you should be aware that Westerners aren’t used to that question.

Now Romanians – they’re used to it! And they’ll put a bloody big stamp on anything you like, if you ask them to.

Guest
Yes! Stamps stamps stamps! We recently bought a washing machine – you pay at the cash desk, then have to fish the ‘guarantee form’ from out of the drum! You break all the protective packaging and take it to customer ‘services’ and they proceed to stamp it multiple times! All done after you’ve queued up yet again and with minimum courtesy – and definitely only wth the ‘Kadar’ look from the ‘customer-facing’ assistant. And you’re lucky if you are served in order. (The ‘Kadar’ look? This is where the assistant looks damn miserable without any risk of a smile and who resents you using the name on her badge – and somehow communicates to you that you are being done a very big favour – presumably because you didn’t have to queue before the goods arrived at the store – and we still have some left after my friends have got theirs – so you had better be greatful. For extra ‘Kadar’ authenticity the ‘stamping’ un-smiling assistants wear white coats!!) You’re then helped with it to your car after waiting an age for the assistant pulling the trolley – but he doesn’t go to the exit. He goes via ‘Scurity’… Read more »
Guest

Charlie, which shop/chain was this?

At OBI, Praktiker, Euronics and mediamarkt we get good service here – and also in the local specialised shops!

Member
Dear Webber, I highly value your active contribution but in this particular case you are not correct in many of your presumptions and I think you are taking this conversation toward a misleading direction. For the sake of simplicity, let us narrow down the issue to Sylvania in Trans and keep in mind that we are talking about a referendum (not national elections were these Hungaricus have “half” of a vote instead of a full vote in our case). There are so many flaws in the system that I do not even try to recount them. I was told that even relatively educated people were confused by the Hungarian mail-in system, not to speak about the majority of the population. What you are required to do is to vote, put it into the small envelope and seal it! You fill in a one-page identifier form (one of the questions is your mother’s maiden name as it stands in your Hungarian documents like lakcimkartya). Place everything together in a big envelope. You seal and mail (prepaid). If you miss any of the steps, you are disqualified. Alternatively, you ask someone else more knowledgeable to do it for you, including voting. Now… Read more »
Guest

You know while he’s at it Mr. Meyer-Resende might want to do some checking of those who do oversight of the Magyar media landscape when it comes to their role, their mandates and their limitations when they arguably help to reliably inform the Magyar population. No doubt it’s probably in a smoky little.back office somewhere with too much kielbasa hanging. Comfy comfy.

It wouldn’t be too much think some media moguls feast on the leeway they are afforded when it comes to their responsibilities in providing Magyars with media that works with a driving integrity for the public good.

Istvan
Guest

Relevant to the problem of dictators overreaching: Putin has made a fatal diplomatic error by abrogating a nuclear security agreement with the USA long opposed by many in the US military. The details can be read here http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/04/world/europe/russia-plutonium-nuclear-treaty.html?_r=0 Russia cannot survive another arms race economically.

webber
Guest

I kind of think Putin might be thinking of playing Potemkin with the nuclear weapons.
Let the US waste tons of money, and pretend he’s doing it too, but really just spend on smoke and mirrors.
At least I can’t believe he’s serious about it. If he is, he’s as crazy as Orban, and I never thought that of him. I always thought he was extremely dangerous, but not insane.

Arkady
Guest
Russia is winning on every front. Putin is popular. Russia is spending heavily on its armed forces and will continue to do so also because China does it too. It’s a usual Western mistake to think that an authoritarian regime will collapse because of its economy won’t be able to handle the costs of the military. North Korea isn’t about to collapse any time soon either. These are not democracies but in fact militaries (and related security services) with a country to rule. Elections are only for show, they are managed and controlled tightly. It is inconceivable that any democratic (liberal) power could emerge in Russia when it’s so seemingly impossible in tiny Hungary. Russia is so much bigger, more deadly and a more unforgiving environment. Putin wants to have his own way and meanwhile he wants to humiliate the US. He is not insane at all. The Philippines just announced that there will no more joint military exercises with the US (there will be one last one), instead the country is pivoting to China. The US is just becoming irrelevant. In Japan many people question whether the country needs to rely on the US for defense. In Hungary Orban… Read more »
webber
Guest

Enjoying those low oil prices?
Russia had a -3.7 economic contraction – yes MINUS – in 2015. Final figures aren’t out for 2016, but further contraction is predicted – by Russian economists.
How’s Russia’s budget look these days? How much of the financial reserve is left now?

The people of the decadent West, especially the United States, are enjoying the low gas prices. Economies are booming thanks to that. Seen the figures lately? Quite nice growth.

Care to compare per capita GDP? When will Russia catch up? Six hundred years? A thousand? At this rate, actually, never.

webber
Guest

FYI – Russia’s GDP for 2015 was 1326.02 bn dollars.
California’s GDP for the same year was 2448 bn dollars.
Not the US – California! One state of fifty.
When is Russia’s GDP going to catch up with California? Six hundred years? A thousand?….

xyz
Guest

The Russians know that money isn’t everything. They may be poor but they are strong. The era when Russia was ignored and disrespected is over.

webber
Guest

Oh, do they? Have you asked Russians about money?
The one’s in power seem to think it’s all there is. Here’s a little song for you:

webber
Guest

But you’re right – Russia is such an attractive society that millions of people are trying to move there. Oh, wait…

Istvan
Guest

Arkady here is what one Putin propaganda page has to say about the defense spending of Russia: “Judging by the infographic published by RIA Novosti (with reference to the IHS Jane’s), Russian expenditure on military went down to fourth place in the world. Behind the US (569,3 billion), China (190,9 billion), UK (66,5 billion dollars). Russia – 53,2 billion. France with 52.7 billion is right behind us.” But Svyatoslav Knyazev the author tells loyal supporters of Putin not to worry, because wages in Russia are so much lower its military gets much more bang for its buck. None the less Knyazev indicates Russia is behind the US, but “the gap is though large, but not critical. And if you have the desire, will, perseverance and a sensible foreign policy (leading to the formation of military alliances) – it is not insurmountable.” Good luck with that Arkady.

Observer
Guest

Что вь дурака валяете ребята, без деген дермо все.
Don’t BS guys, without money it’s all shit.

Guest

A bit OT:

I’m sure you remember Andre Goodfriend from his days in Budapest – here on facebook is news from him in Washington:
Andre Goodfriend
Gestern um 19:37 ·

For the past year or so I’ve been working on putting together the State Department’s 2016 Open Government Plan, which was just published and is online at https://goo.gl/exPPXk. During times when it seems that the natural inclination is to keep things hidden, I’ve appreciated being part of the inclination to transparency and collaboration that is essential in a democracy. We posted a short video about it too. https://goo.gl/p7NBD9
Haven’t had the time yet to look into it though.

Aarnoy
Guest

Paks 2 has been OK-ed by the EU.

http://magyarnarancs.hu/belpol/ez-am-a-meglepo-az-utolso-simitasokat-vegzik-paks2-jovahagyasan-az-europai-bizottsagban-101093

Brussels won’t save Hungary’s ass. As usual Orban was right and he won. Liberals lost as usual.

webber
Guest

What did liberals lose? I think Hungary lost. Not just liberals – all Hungarians.
You’d better get used to Putin’s lease.

webber
Guest

P.S. Either get some glasses or take a class on text comprehension. The article doesn’t say Paks has been OK-ed. The article says that Magyar Narancs has heard “from an inside source” that it will be OK-ed. Big difference!

Observer
Guest

Webber,

Lies, damn lias, Orban.

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