The next victims of Orbán’s hate campaign will be the journalists

Hungarian commentators know from past experience that one ought to pay close attention to every word Viktor Orbán utters because his future plans are normally embedded in his speeches way ahead of time. Sometimes these references are too subtle to notice easily; more often, they are dropped in a phrase or two which those who listen to his speeches, especially the soporific ones, are likely to miss.

With the exception of the hired hands of the government media, all other commentators at home and abroad found that Viktor Orbán’s speech in Tusnádfürdő-Băile Tușnad was on the dull side, containing practically nothing new. He refrained from announcing any controversial idea that would be greeted with consternation in political circles in the European Union. There was, however, something in that speech that upset Hungarian journalists to no end. Amidst the seemingly endless braggadocio there was one sentence that strongly indicated that, after the attacks on the NGOs and George Soros, the next victims will be journalists critical of the Orbán government, especially investigative journalists who have been unearthing the corruption endemic in Fidesz and government circles.

Orbán made no secret of the fact that, between now and the election sometime in April 2018, Fidesz’s “adversaries will not be the opposition parties at home.” In the forthcoming election campaign “first and foremost [they] will have to hold their own against external forces; against the bureaucrats of Brussels; the Soros mafia network and its media.” That last sentence sent chills down the spines of journalists working for media outlets considered to be unfriendly to the Orbán government.

Magyar Nemzet actually received information from Fidesz circles that this is not the first time that Viktor Orbán has expressed his strong disapproval of the activities of some journalists. Insiders reported that he often talked about the “liberal media” and its unwarranted bias and enmity toward the government, resulting in unfair reporting. The paper learned from several sources that this year’s speech in Tusnádfürdő/Băile Tușnad was the beginning of a new anti-media campaign. Thus far Fidesz’s targets have been media outlets owned by Lajos Simicska, but now they are apparently planning to go against individual journalists. The informants intimated that investigative journalists concentrating on economic matters will be in his cross hairs. A new enemy is needed after Brussels and George Soros, and the media is an obvious next choice. Especially since Donald Trump’s anti-media campaign has had its influence in Hungary, where the expression “fake news” is spreading in the English original.

Orbán has a point. The opposition in its current state is no threat to him whatsoever. If the chaos that exists on the political left isn’t resolved over the next nine months, Fidesz, especially with the assistance of Romanian-Hungarian voters, will be able to win the election easily and most likely will have the coveted two-thirds majority of parliamentary seats. By now the only threat comes from high-profile NGOs, who insist on legality and diligently pursue government wrongdoings. They keep going to the European Court of Justice or to the European Court of Human Rights, and more often than not they win against the Orbán government. It’s no wonder that Orbán wants to get rid of them. Investigative journalists are also “enemies” as far as Fidesz is concerned. They have been working hard to discover the sources of the newly acquired riches of the Orbán family and to unearth the criminal activities of the oligarchs who are actively supported by the prime minister. If these NGOs and journalists would just disappear, life would be a great deal easier for Orbán and friends.

But Hungary is still not like Russia or Turkey where journalists are killed or jailed. Orbán most likely will choose a different tack. The suspicion in Hungarian journalistic circles is that the plan is to undermine the reputation of the most active investigative journalists. The government will try to find some dirt and, if there is nothing juicy enough, they will create stories from half-truths. As for character assassination, we know that Orbán is a master of the craft. It is enough to think of how effectively he managed to create a monster out of Ferenc Gyurcsány simply because he believed him to be his only effective political foe in the country. In comparison to that, the task of finishing off some journalists’ careers will be child’s play.

The journalists who either work for the handful of media outlets owned by non-Fidesz businessmen or those who have been supported by George Soros’s Open Society Foundation are worried. They wanted to know more about the targets of the new campaign from Szilárd Németh, deputy to Chairman Viktor Orbán, who gave a press conference on the subject. Németh immediately got into an argument with the journalists who were present. He accused Gergely Nyilas of Index of not being a journalist but an emissary of Lajos Simicska, the owner of the internet site. According to Németh, Nyilas is simply performing the task assigned to him, which is attacking Simicska’s enemy Viktor Orbán. Another journalist representing the Simicska-owned HírTV didn’t fare better. He was accused of reciting his questions, which were actually written for him by someone else. Németh most likely again had Lajos Simicska in mind.

The journalists naturally wanted to know which media outlets are the latest targets of the government, but Németh refused to name them, claiming that both he and the journalists know full well which ones the government has in mind. However, in the course of the conversation he talked about “criminal organizations” that will have to be dealt with by the prosecutor’s office.

In addition to Szilárd Németh, the almost forgotten Rózsa Hoffmann, former undersecretary of education, also spoke about the ill-willed, irresponsible journalists. While claiming that Hungary’s reputation in Brussels is improving, “certain journalistic organizations falsely accuse Hungary on many accounts.” She also seems certain that these journalists are following a prescribed script.

We can expect a heightened assault on journalists as well as NGOs. In fact, Orbán promised that much when answering a man in Tusnádfürdő/Băile Tușnad who demanded harsher treatment of NGOs. It sounds ominous.

July 26, 2017
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old1956
Guest

why is our blog afraid to call this regime fascist, or stalinist?

Guest

As soon as you agree that Trump and his gang are fascists too!

petofi
Guest

Trump is an idiot (-savant?) that has fallen into the lap of the Russians. He’s a media blowhard that knows not what he does. He cares not either as long as he creates maximum waves. Of course, the US will lose intelligence assets around the globe, but it should lead to reform of the two party system and how presidential nominees are to be qualified…

Istvan
Guest

I can appreciate that perspective Petofi. But President Trump I think truly believes he can out smart both the Russians and Chinese. He really doesn’t care about SVR penetration, because he is convinced his own contrived deal making will yield ultimate victory. Rumors now abound that Trump is looking to remove not just AG Sessions, but also General H R McMaster (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2017/07/25/rumors-abound-about-other-imminent-white-house-firings-and-resignations/?utm_term=.61db764c4c83 ) over his confused Russian deal making approach.

In the case of North Korea there is clearly a faction in the US Marine Corp that is prepared to launch an assault on North Korea, see http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/22/dunford-north-korea-military-option-not-unimaginable-240851 I have no idea how deep those thoughts run, I would hope Trump’s inherent cowardly nature would prevent such an aggressive move.

wrfree
Guest

Istvan…

It is known that POTUS went to military school. I’ve always been a student of leadership.
I wonder how POTUS who figuratively is commander-in-chief of the free world will meld the ‘American’ character in the practice of its leadership. At this time I am not encouraged.

But I should say I prefer the ‘quiet warriors’ who do their duty and win their battles without bluster and fired, bloated rhetoric. They are the ones who indelibly know of the price to be paid for the ‘wins’.

petofi
Guest

“President Trump believes…”

Hogwash.
He believes nothing.
He’s an ‘acting-out’ 12year old who knows he’s out of his depth but loves the attention.
He can’t, and doesn’t want to try to, outsmart anyone. He knows that, given a year more, he’ll increase his net worth by atleast 50 billion. Then he’ll go on to have a reality show…(if there’s a planet left).

old1956
Guest

Let us keep it simple. Hungary’s problem is that this regime governs with a minority support against the majority.
The Russians are strongly backing the regime in this battle.
The rest is irrelevant.

bimbi
Guest

old1956 @ 6:44 a.m.

Easy answer: because the regime is neither. It is not modelled on Mussolini’s government, nor is it “stalinist” – whatever that means – it is a home-grown brand of industrial-scale theft through legislation, with continuity in power built in to the model. F’get the name-calling.

Thomas Schwarz
Guest

…because it is not “fascist” or “stalinist” – it’s simply dictatorial and undemocratic.

dos929
Guest
Let’s not ‘beat around the bush’ and name indeed this regime what it is. An Orwellian nightmare in a 21st century EU member country. And this nightmare didn’t start now or in 2014, or even after the 2010 election. It began in 1998 when the 1st Orban government commenced its tenure. When they got read of taking protocols of the government sittings, when they forcibly ‘bought out’ businesses, etc… Their dirty laundry was there for all to see, and only tanks to those brave journalists that some of their mafia tactics and deeds came to light. And Orban’s rant after his loosing the 2002 elections told it all as far his real intentions were; that his only regret was not being tougher with his ‘enemies’… And enter into their 2010 election victory, which was won by relentless underhanded tactics, with lies, deceptions and a complete absence of any comprehensive plan for governance. Thus no one could question them for unfilled election promises, and even if the opposition forces or media would do it wasn’t a concern for Orban. The citizens of Hungary within 6 months or so woken up that they had no constitution, no private pension funds and no… Read more »
petofi
Guest

Hungarian politics nowdays is nothing more than a Russian template for the exportation of ‘illiberal government’ with the intent of undermining democratic institutions of western governments worldwide.

petofi
Guest

You’ve already missed the boat: nothing matters anymore.
Orban has learned from his mentor how to conduct governmental affairs with the verisimilitude of democratic process. The world has accepted such from the Russians in the past. A mistake. Now others, like Orban, the Poles…follow suit.

wrfree
Guest

Illiberalist creed:
‘If Russian music be the food of political love , play on!!! (courtesy to the Bard)

Jean P.
Guest

Some people think Orbán is first-rate
He’s straight from the heavenly gate
They think he’s a savior
Despite his behavior
Of spreading the gospel of hate.

(Originally dedicated to Trump).

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/9/20/1572485/-Political-Limerick-Gospel-of-hate

wrfree
Guest

Very good. Could be a great idea to start a ‘media freedom’ test. Then freedom watchers would know if the good old days of samizdat are back again.

Ferenc
Guest
Fidesz quotes: “not being a journalist but an emissary of”, “simply performing the task assigned to him/her”, “reciting questions, actually written by someone else”, “ill-willed, irresponsible journalists are following a prescribed script”, etc. Recommended to just check sometimes your preferred public/state media, if you don’t have I suggest to check M1 news, and it will become quickly clear to you that all the above quotes are applicable. The public/state media is under full control of Fidesz, and then the by them organized media, the ‘dirty media’ are taking their job some steps further away from it’s original purpose of fairly informing the public, that people working there can hardly be called journalists anymore. So I gladly repeat a very true saying: ki mint él, úgy ítél – evil doers are evil dreaders What really started to worry me is the mention of “will have to be dealt with by the prosecutor’s office”. Can we expect here new legislation, tailor-made for use against ‘unfriendly’ journalists and media? Or is there already existing legislation which can be used for the same purpose? If such legal actions really will start, the targeted media should not let themselves be intimidated by it and never… Read more »
exTor
Guest

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KI MINT ÉL, ÚGY ITÉL

A more-appropriate (and more-idiomatic) English translation would be ‘Reap as you sow’. There are many versions [eg: ‘You reap what you sow’] of the saying, which is sourced from the Bible in more than one location, one being 2 Corinthians 9:6, another being Galatians 6:7.

Your translation does get the idea across, Ferenc.

MAGYARKOZÓ

petofi
Guest

Wow. You’re a surprising kat, exTor. Between pumping iron, you commit the Biblia to memory!

exTor
Guest

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Google is our friend, petőfi.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Ferenc
Guest

Re: “will have to be dealt with by the prosecutor’s office”
Question for legal experts here:
Can the ‘Lex NGO’ be used against “journalists and/or media as part of criminal organizations'”?
If so, it does not seem to be appropriate to be used against public/state media (as these are officially managed by the state/government), but it should be possible to be applied against the, by Fidesz organized, ‘dirty media’.

Member

Szilard Nemeth, the ex-wrestler, is the very personification of the fascist regime presently in charge in Hungary. He is a semi-literate thug who would be more at home working as bouncer at some Miskolc “nightclub” beating up teenagers for wearing the wrong shoes.

Instead, in the wonder that is Orbans Hungary, he is the main "face" and "voice" of the regime. No matter how many expensive suits he (and his master) attempt to fit their corpulent bodies into, it doesnt change the fact that he is still a thick, bullying thug.

exTor
Guest

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JC7TyMO6-z4

This is a back-and-forth between author Róbert Puzsér
and Zsolt Tyirityán, former head of Betyársereg and
cofounder of the newly formed Erő és Elszántság.
[EE] It was held in a ring in a selfdefense club.
[Vita a nemzeti radikalizmusról – december 2016]

I doubt if Szilárd Németh is semiliterate, as you stated D7Democrat, but a neighbor here in Csepel said that Németh is pretty thick, that being on the sayso of another party, meaning that my neighbor had no first-hand interaction with Németh, so it may just be an easy putdown.

Everyone wants to think the worst of (perceived) assholes, which is why many think that Trump aint the smartest of the bunch, but people like Trump and Németh could not have gotten where they got if they didn’t have a little something on the ball. Sure Trump had the backing of his millionaire father, then becoming a high-flying developer, but he couldn’t have won the US presidency not having a lot of moxie and wherewithal.

As for looking thuggy, there are more than a few in my gym (where I pump iron) who would not look out of place at an EE gettogether.

MAGYARKOZÓ

exTor
Guest

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… Refugee Camp … Röszke, Hungary … 2015 September 9 …

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/26/world/europe/hungary-slovakia-eu-migrants.html

“A top European Union legal adviser denounced Hungary and Slovakia on Wednesday for refusing to participate in a plan devised in 2015 to relocate migrants from Greece and Italy as the migration crisis reached its height.”

This is the leadoff paragraph from yesterday’s New York Times article.

MAGYARKOZÓ

exTor
Guest

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If there is one person whom I detest on par with Zsolt Bayer, it is Szilárd Németh, the former Csepel mayor, whose residence is just north of me.

Here his big head –I’ve heard Csepeliek [Csepel residents] refer to Németh by that thing on his shoulders– obscures a sizable portion of the slogan [‘Magyarország Jobban Teljesít] behind him. [Mandiner, January 2017]

http://mandiner.hu/cikk/20170110_nemeth_szilard_eltakaritana_a_soros_birodalom_alciviljeit

A good antiOrbán slogan for 2018 would be: ‘Fidesz Zseb Jobban Teljesít’, which would punningly extend Jobbik’s Fidesz-corruption theme.

As with Trump’s ‘fake news’ [kiejtve magyarul: fék núz], a term gaining ground in Hungary, ‘fake news’ [igazán magyarul: hamis hír] is the reality [eg: corruption] that Fidesz does not like to see broadcast to Magyars.

MAGYARKOZÓ

petofi
Guest

“Fake news” is the creation of the KGB basement boys…

Ferenc
Guest

exTor, as a Csepelian, can you say something about the popularity under the locals of that wrestling cleaner or cleaning wrestler living in your neighbourhood?

PS: regarding detesting Mr.Piece of Shit aka.Bakondi Gy. tops my own list, just above two smaller pieces, you mention, of the same material.

exTor
Guest

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http://csepeliek.blog.hu/2017/07/27/vigyazat_a_nyugalom_megzavarasara_alkalmas_nemeth_szilard_van_benne

Csepel has its own online presence, which is resolutely antiFidesz, antiNémeth and antiBorbély [a mostani Csepel polgármestere].

My link is the most-recent article about Németh. I cant really say what the Csepel residents think of him, because he hasn’t really come up much in conversation. I’ve never heard anything positive about him, nor about Lénárd Borbély, his very young successor as mayor.

What I’d like to know is how he advance so fast up the Fidesz totempole. He is now the vicepresident [alelnök] of the party. After this, I’m going to start asking around what people think of Szilárd Németh.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Ferenc
Guest

Thanks, looking forward for the replies you’ll get.
About his rise in Fidesz, I’m as clueless as you, but it surely must have something to do with OV needing and liking NSz.

petofi
Guest

Fundamentally, what the Russians are after is the undermining of democratic institutions. A leader, a person, can always be bought and corrupted; an institution has a history and a legacy. The US will survive Trump because of its many years of institutional growth.

wrfree
Guest

Re: ‘Russians…undermining democratic insitutions’

Surely the name of their game now as they have leaders who are peppered around to rub salt into wounds and run rings around democracies. The incomparable insidious political ‘spoilers’ par excellence of our time. All bets are on as they strive to continually unmoor the very ideas of democratic tradition from their institutional and philosophical bulwarks in Europe and now seemingly have spread to the United States.

They have their acolytes spreading the ‘Word’. And the burrowing works from the subtle to the overt. Incredible how the poor hands they play from their poker house win pots and well….’plots’. From now on the West will know no sleep. Looks to be Russian bedtime stories for the foreseeable future. They don’t have to know Russki. It’s in the message.

Metzger
Guest

Note that targeting journalists is Trumps strategy too. Orban is being advised by A. Finkelstein and his associates who are wired into the Republican machinery and know what is working with Trumps core base. Trump knows that journalists as a class are even less popular than politicians so for the time being they are the best target for him. Same in Hungary. Taking on popular targets is controversial the best is to find already hated targets. But I also assume there will be pictures of some independent journalists who will appear Jewish looking, but that will be only coincidence.

Member

Vogel, I suggest, that you do not change your name everyday.
One could falsely believe, that there is more than person, who is uttering this strange stuff.

wrfree
Guest

Re: ‘Hungary’s reputation in Brussels … improving’

Has to be a remark coming from the outfield. It appears the EU is the only institution outside the country that can even have the tiniest modicum of success in halting the inexorable decline of media freedom there. It is probably the only ‘check’ now on the government’s attempt to corral more and more media outlets.

Perhaps the EU has to stop treating its divisive members as if they have nuke weapons. They’ve kicked the can down the road too too long in baiting the Magyar government to keep on shutting down the mouths and pens of specific opinion. We wonder what does it take to come to the ‘last straw?’

On that the EU must be wary. Too much bending over backwards will give them a shot they will never recover from. Magyarorszag arguably is the smoky campfire in forest Europe now. Unfortunately their leaders are just irresponsible hovering on the unconscionable in handling matches. The EU better watch the flames or they’ll live to see a price to be paid.

Member
Folks – Let’s not get carried away comparing Orban’s media policy to Trump’s. Despite the two leaders’ similarities, and Orban’s fawning affection for Trump, their ability to curb the freedom of the press is absolutely not comparable. I have not yet heard of the politician who thinks the media’s coverage of her or him is fair. This is not a conservative/liberal issue: The Obama administration took extreme steps to intimidate journalists, notably James Risen of the supposedly Democrat-controlled New York Times. The Trump administration bullies journalists and uses its power to control coverage, e.g. forbidding cameras at press briefings. Orban does the same thing, surrounding himself with smirking yes-men who ensure that no reporter can get anywhere near him. Off the top of my head, I see three main areas of difference between Trump and Orban with respect to the media: 1) The US has an independent judiciary that relies on more than 200 years of case law to decide on questions of press-government relations. While Hungary’s judiciary has shown a surprising amount of backbone in the face of Orbanite intimidation, the country’s press laws are arbitrary, capricious and serve the interests of the political class, not the public. 2)… Read more »
wrfree
Guest

Alex…

I think your assessments are on the mark. Wait till you see what happens if our seemingly vacuous POTUS tries to cut out some jeopardized limbs among the Constitutional cherry trees. With each misstep this POTUS is ‘building his gallows high baby’.

It’s good he’s getting knocked around with ‘checks and balances’ and a little rope thrown in. While we can’t call him ‘honest Abe’ we might be able to apprise POTUS of the telling of lies, hatchets and the knocking down of cherry trees. But this is a long way from perhaps getting a Washington out of a soon to be mythian ‘democratic’ Trump…..;-)….

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