Tag Archives: Ulrike Lunacek

The Hungarian government media’s portraits of Macron

Two days ago, when I wrote a post about Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the French presidential election and its reception by the Hungarian government, I had rely on the relatively few analyses that appeared in the government media. They didn’t address most of the reforms Macron proposes but were preoccupied with his ire against the Polish and Hungarian governments and his support for a two-speed Europe, both of which concern Hungary directly. Still, the basic message was (and still is) that with Macron’s victory, everything will remain the same. The decline of Europe will continue. The French voted for the wrong person.

Macron has ambitious plans for revitalizing France, especially in economic terms, and even more ambitious ideas for restructuring the European Union. We don’t know whether any of Macron’s ideas will materialize, but nothing is further from the truth than that Macron is a man who is stuck in the present. Here are a few of Macron’s ideas for the Eurozone, premised on a two-speed Europe, as outlined in the Eurobserver. He would like to see a Eurozone parliament, finance minister, and budget, which we already know Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, opposes. Jean-Claude Juncker doesn’t seem supportive of Macron’s plans either. He warned that “not all euro member states agree that someone based in Brussels or somewhere else should call the shots on budgets instead of national parliaments.” Macron also wants to have a set of social rights introduced at the European level, setting up standards for job training, health insurance, unemployment benefits, and the minimum wage. At the same time he would like to see closer cooperation on defense, security, and intelligence. In brief, he wants “more Europe” than perhaps even Orbán’s “bureaucrats in Brussels.”

So, when Tamás Ulicza in Magyar Hírlap claims that “Macron’s answers are the same as all the earlier unsuccessful attempts to date except only to a higher degree,” he is misrepresenting Macron’s position. In Ulicza’s view, the European Union is still heading toward the abyss. Macron’s election is only giving the leaders of the EU a false sense of security. Le Pen, Ulicza writes, almost certainly wouldn’t have led France out of the European Union, but “she wouldn’t have swept the existing problems under the carpet.” Macron lacks a political vision for his own country; “he can think only in terms of Europe,” he insists, although even Híradó, the official news that is distributed to all media outlets, fairly accurately reported on his plans for revitalizing the French economy. Macron proposes cuts to state spending, wants to ease the existing labor laws, and wants to introduce social protection for the self-employed.

Magyar Idők offered no substantive analysis of Macron’s economic or political ideas. The editors were satisfied with a partial reprinting of a conversation with György Nógrádi, the “national security expert,” a former informer during the Kádár period about whose outrageous claims I wrote several times. I especially recommend the post titled “The truth caught up with the ‘national security expert,’ György Nógrádi.” But at least Nógrádi did tell the television audience, accurately in this case, that Macron wants to reduce the size of the French government by letting 120,000 civil servants go.

Perhaps the most intriguing article appeared in the solidly pro-government Origo with the title “We are introducing the French Gyurcsány.” According to the unnamed journalist, “the career of the former banker and minister of economy eerily resembles the life and ideology of Ferenc Gyurcsány.” As we know, there is no greater condemnation in Orbán’s Hungary than comparing anyone to the former prime minister. What follows is a description of the two politicians’ careers, starting with both entering the political arena only after successful careers in business in the case of Gyurcsány and banking in the case of Macron. Both, the article continues, are followers of third-road socialism, following in the footsteps of Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, and Gerhard Schröder.

One thing is certain: both believe in an eventual United States of Europe. They believe there should be a European government with a prime minister and a strong parliament and a second chamber made up of the heads of the member states. “Neither of them stands by the idea of strong nation states.” The article claims that both men belittle the culture, history, and heritage of their own countries. Macron, for example, stands against the view that French culture is superior to all others. Mon dieu! And what did Gyurcsány say? In 2007, when Merkel visited Hungary, he told her that the Holy Crown’s place in not in the parliament. Macron has a disparaging opinion of boeuf bourguignon, a favorite of the French. Gyurcsány is guilty because “to this day he would take away the voting rights of Hungarians living in the neighboring countries.” And what was obviously his greatest sin: in a speech delivered in 2013 he said that “we [the democratic opposition] are the real patriotic heirs of St. Stephen.”

It is true that Ferenc Gyurcsány and his party, the Demokratikus Koalíció, are totally committed to the European Union. Only a few days ago DK organized a conference in which Frank Engel (EPP), Ulrike Lunacek (Greens), and Josef Weidenholzer (Socialists and Democrats) participated. DK’s slogan as a counterpoint to the “Stop Brussels!” campaign is “Let’s catch up with Brussels!” Gyurcsány would like to see a new European constitution, dual citizenship, joint border defense, and common social security. The final goal is a United States of Europe.

As far as Macron’s ideas on the economy are concerned, he seems to me a combination of Ferenc Gyurcsány and Lajos Bokros.

Of course, Viktor Orbán also wants to reform the European Union, but what he would like to achieve cannot be called “reform.” He would like to go backwards, taking away the present prerogatives of the European Commission and Parliament and giving more power to the 27 member states. The EU does need reform, but not the kind that Poland and Hungary are proposing. Macron might not succeed in everything he hopes to do, but he is correct in his belief that the solution lies in more, not less integration.

May 10, 2017

Viktor Orbán before the European Parliament

I watched the full debate on Hungary in the European Parliament and took copious notes throughout, but here I will offer only some overall impressions. I found Frans Timmermans, first vice president of the European Commission, most impressive, especially since he kept his message to Viktor Orbán brief but to the point. He emphasized the difference between “opinions” and “facts,” intimating that while the Commission’s objections to the Hungarian government’s actions and policies are based on facts, Hungarian answers to their objections are not.

I can’t stress enough the duplicity of members of the Orbán government and its servile media. Every sentence they utter must be scrutinized because it usually turns out that the claims they make to bolster their arguments are unfounded. The EU commissioners have been lied to for at least seven years, if not longer. But it seems that not until this latest “national consultation” did they realize the extent of the lies. Six statements, six falsehoods. Although Frans Timmermans talked about several problems, he spent most of his time on those six statements, refuting them one by one. The false claims, along with the refutations, can be read on the European Commission’s website as well as in the Budapest Business Journal.

The European Commission naturally had several other major objections to the Orbán government’s policies–among them, discrimination against women, treatment of the Roma, the criminal code, the attack on NGOs, and of course the crude attempt at shuttering Central European University.

The answer Timmermans received from Orbán was, as usual, full of inaccurate statements. Orbán proudly pointed out how unsuccessful the European Commission and Parliament have been in enforcing their will on Hungary, starting with the Tavares Report, which he described as “an embarrassing failure.” (For those of you who no longer remember what the Tavares Report was all about, I recommend reading my post on the acceptance of the report by the European Parliament and Professor Kim Scheppele’s “In praise of the Tavares Report,” which also appeared in Hungarian Spectrum.) And if that weren’t enough, Orbán decided to make clear what he thinks of those who “warmly receive a ruthless speculator who ruined many lives and who is an open enemy of the European Union.” Otherwise, he didn’t accept any of the objections to the “Stop Brussels!” campaign or to his country’s treatment of the NGOs. He accused the EU leaders of anti-Hungarian prejudice. In brief, since he couldn’t really counter the objections, he had to rely on ad hominem attacks.

Orbán’s so-called rebuttal was followed by short speeches from the leaders of the EP parties, all of whom, with the exception of the far-right groups, were critical of Viktor Orbán and the Hungarian government. If you visit the website of Hungarian Free Press, you will find a good summary of some of these speeches. HFP’s review of the events spends some time on the comments of Esther de Lange, a Dutch Christian Democratic politician and member of the European People’s Party, who said: “I feel pain in my heart because I recall the other Fidesz, which wanted to be part of a united Europe. It is not the first time that it appears that developments in Hungary are going against European values…. Are you really the type of man who must paint an inaccurate and exaggerated picture of ‘Brussels’ as an enemy, in order to appear stronger at home?” To this I would add a comment made in a similar vein by the Austrian Ulrike Lunacek (Green Party) who recalled that this is the third time that Orbán appears before the European Parliament. Unlike before, he no longer wants any dialogue. “You must be weak because you want to scrap CEU. You must be scared of freedom and criticism. You are scared of democracy.” Finally, she noted that not even EPP members encouraged him with their applause. Only far-right groups are behind him.

Source: Politico / Photo: Emmanuel Dunnand / AFP

Orbán’s final speech was a great deal less bellicose then his introductory remarks. In fact, I would describe it as subdued. He assured his audience that his government is ready to engage with the EU on all the issues, some of which will be settled easily. It looked as if he was truly worried about Fidesz’s possible expulsion from EPP which, given the present mood of the majority, is unlikely. He was also upset by references to his opposition to Brussels , all the while eagerly accepting EU funds. “What we receive is not a gift,” he said. Statements about his lack of democratic convictions also bothered him. Judging from his facial expression, the accusation that he is “a copy of Putin and Erdoğan” especially pained him. But it wasn’t enough to prevent him from uttering yet another lie. He tried to explain away the “illiberal” label he himself attached to his political system. His new take is that Hungary’s “illiberal democracy” is simply “a democracy led by non-liberals.” I can’t imagine anyone in the European Parliament believing that linguistic invention.

Finally, here is a tidbit that no one has yet called attention to. Zoltán Balczó of Jobbik also delivered a short speech. Although he declared his party’s opposition to Soros’s Open Society, he added that “Jobbik doesn’t accept the government’s attack on Central European University. We are waiting for the final word from the Constitutional Court.” What surprised me most was the way he closed his speech: “We are against this corrupt regime.” I never thought I would hear a Jobbik MEP utter those words.

I’m sure that in the next days and weeks the Hungarian media will be full of predictions about the outcome of this latest “war” between Orbán and the European Commission. In fact, the debate has already begun. But I would counsel against hasty calls. Orbán may not be as sure of himself and his success against Brussels as his public posturing would indicate. According to Magyar Nemzet, several Fidesz heavyweights have been cautioning him against using inflammatory rhetoric and assuming a combative attitude. Meanwhile, Népszava got hold of an e-mail sent to all the other members of the European People’s Party by the 12 Fidesz members. Their tone is in stark contrast to Orbán’s bellicosity. “We are not perfect, not all of our experiments are successful, but we are flexible and we are ready for serious discussions about the future of our country and of Europe.” They said they stand “very far from those who work for the destruction of Europe.” Finally, they wrote that they “are members of the club and accept both the benefits and the burdens” that go with membership. Their final words were: “We do make mistakes; we are not perfect; and we are ready to correct them.”

And, of course, as I said the other day, the Hungarian constitutional court may step in to lift the uncomfortable burden of the CEU law from the shoulders of the Orbán government.

April 26, 2017

Homosexuality and same-sex marriage in Hungary

György Bolgár’s Let’s Talk It Over is a liberal talk show with a huge fan club. I myself rarely miss it. Bolgár comes up with topics that he finds interesting or important and usually adds a comment with a question mark at the end. Today I learned that Ferenc Gyurcsány visited Viktor Orbán’s old dormitory, the István Bibó Kollégium, yesterday. Only students of the college could attend the informal talk. Soon enough a recording of the talk was in the hands of Magyar NemzetThe paper made sure that at least one minute of Gyurcsány’s talk was shared with the readers and presented it as a second Balatonőszöd speech.

What was it that, according to Magyar Nemzet, was such a sin that it can only be compared to the speech that effectively ended Gyurcsány’s premiership? The former prime minister told his audience that his views on cultural matters, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, and choice of identity are extremely liberal. “Just to shock you, we are the only party that supports the marriage of same-sex couples and their right to adopt children.” He added that the only reason DK didn’t propose a bill to this effect was because “the socialists would have had hiccups” if they did. The conclusion of Magyar Nemzet was that just as Gyurcsány didn’t reveal the whole truth about the state of the economy before the 2006 election he isn’t revealing the whole truth about the opposition’s position today. If they win the election the Unity coalition will introduce an outrageous bill on same-sex marriage and will have the majority to pass it.

György Bolgár tacked on his usual question to this piece of news, asking his audience whether it was a wise move of Gyurcsány to touch on this “delicate” subject in the middle of the election campaign. The current constitution states that “Hungary shall protect the institution of marriage as the union of a man and a woman established by voluntary decision, and the family as the basis of the survival of the nation.”

The discussion of the subject even in the relatively moderate right-wing press, for example Heti Válasz, shows such a combination of ignorance, antagonism, and false information that one is inclined to think that bringing up the subject was anything but wise politically. Only yesterday Heti Válasz came out with an article headlined “Two Fidesz EU members voted for the proposal of the gay lobbyists.” One can sense surprise or perhaps even outrage that such a scandalous vote could occur in the EU’s Fidesz caucus. The story is a bit old since it was on February 14 that the proposal was endorsed by a large majority of the European Parliament, but I guess better later than never. In the article, according to the short description of it available on the Internet, the proposal among other things “would make it compulsory to spread the popularity of homosexuality already in kindergartens and the member states would be forced to adopt same-sex marriage.” The article mentions that a most likely homophobic civil group, CitizenGO, was collecting signatures to make sure that the proposal would never be adopted. They failed. The rapporteur of the proposal was Ulrike Lunacek, an Austrian Green EP, who is a lesbian activist. Heti Válasz revealed the names of the two Fidesz renegades who voted for the bill. They turned out to be József Szájer and Lívia Járóka. I’m not surprised. Although Szájer is  married, it seems to be widely known that he is actually gay. And Járóka, who is of Roma origin, might be more sensitive to discrimination than the average Fidesz EP.

Source: www.algbtical.org

Source: www.algbtical.org

If the so-called moderate Fidesz outlet, Heti Válasz, takes the unfounded rumors about the propagation of homosexuality and compulsory introduction of gay marriage in the member states at face value, you can imagine what the other right-wing publications say on the subject. But when you actually look at the “Report on the EU Roadmap against homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity” it is a moderate document designed to have easy passage. It simply opposes discrimination and wants to ensure the equality of gays, lesbians, and transsexuals. Heti Válasz‘s reporter obviously didn’t even bother to read the document.

So, Bolgár’s question was justified. Was it wise for Ferenc Gyurcsány to bring the topic up at all? Was he again careless and rash? After all, he is now a member of a team that is supposed to show unity. And one of the problems of “Összefogás” is that voters don’t see the kind of unity its name implies. So, I would say, no, it was not a wise thing to do. Not that I don’t sympathize with his position. I do, but with this statement he is opening himself up for another attack from Magyar Nemzet. One can say that it really doesn’t matter what he says or doesn’t, his opponents shower the most outrageous attacks on him anyway. One could say that politicians don’t always have to cater to public sentiment. But there’s a reason that most politicians try to align themselves with the views of their potential voters.

In the United States where state governments and courts as well as the federal government and the Supreme Court are moving to extend rights to the LGBT community, the majority supports the idea of same-sex marriage (54% in 2013). In Hungary according to the latest poll (2007) it is only 30%. If I had to guess, due to Fidesz and Christian Democratic propaganda that number may be lower by now. For instance, anti-gay propaganda can be heard on M1 (Kossuth Rádió) where a long conversation took place about whether homosexuality is a sin. Heti Válasz severely criticized the United States for launching a campaign aimed at Putin’s anti-gay Russia It was no more than hysterics, the paper claimed. An innocent sporting event became the victim of politics. Heti Válasz was on solid political ground on two fronts. It could support the conservative religious position advocated by the government and, now that Hungary and Russia are such good friends, it could come out squarely on the side of Putin’s discriminatory laws against gays.

In any case, Gyurcsány felt that he had to explain himself more fully and therefore gave a press conference today. He didn’t retreat. He repeated that his party is in favor of same-sex marriage but they are in the minority within Összefogás. Just as they are in the minority on the issues of dual citizenship and Hungary’s current arrangement with the Vatican. He added that, if Összefogás wins, DK will not put in a draft bill on the issue of same-sex marriage because they disapprove of the Fidesz practice of legislation by individual MP’s proposals. The government will prepare draft bills to be discussed in parliament and DK there will be in the minority. On the other hand, he added, if Fidesz wins DK in opposition following their heartfelt conviction will put in a such a proposal.

As for the callers to Bolgár’s program, there was one who disapproved of Gyurcsány’s comments and not just for political reasons. He thought that children who are brought up in same-sex households will become homosexuals themselves. On the other hand, a father phoned in who told his family’s story. They found out when their son was 18 years old that he is gay. He has been living with his partner. A friend of theirs, a woman, was left high and dry by the man who impregnated her. It was his son who was present at the birth and the two of them are something of father substitutes for the little boy. He almost wept, and when Bolgár suggested that gay people are just as good as heterosexuals, he said, “No, they are better.”

Viktor Orbán and the 4000-year-old history of marriage between one man and one woman

The Budapest Pride, a yearly parade of gays, lesbians, and their supporters, was held on Saturday. About ten years ago these parades normally took place without much to-do, but the growth of the far right changed all that. Instead of being a free-wheeling, joyous affair, it is now a “march” between a wall of policemen. Beyond the cordons are the frenzied, screaming neo-Nazis.

The parade itself went off peacefully enough. But once it was over and the crowd dispersed, three people were brutally attacked by a group of thirty skinheads dressed in black uniforms. Policemen arrived on the scene quickly. But instead of going after the attackers, they demanded ID cards from the victims. They simply let the attackers leave. Opposition parties are demanding a police investigation.

It turned out that Ulrike Lunacek, an Austrian Green member of the European Parliament, was among those marching in the parade. Readers of Hungarian Spectrum may recall her as the person who had a serious run-in with Zsolt Bayer, who talked about her on HírTV in a truly unspeakable manner. I often wondered whether Bayer knew that Lunacek is a lesbian. I suspect that he didn’t, at least at the time. Otherwise, he would have used even stronger and even less acceptable language.

In any case, while Lunacek was in Budapest she had a chat with a reporter for Népszabadság. The conversation soon turned to a discussion of Viktor Orbán’s performance in the European Parliament last week. In his speech Orbán tried to defend the Hungarian parliament’s decision to include in the constitution a definition of marriage as the joining of  “one man and one woman.”  Whatever you think of this definition, as usual he didn’t do a good job researching the topic of marriage from a historical perspective. He asserted that “marriage between one man and one woman is a Judaeo-Christian tradition going back 4,000 years.”

gender symbolsUlrike Lunacek pointed out that marriage in the sense of a civil contract is relatively new, starting only a couple of hundred years ago. She might have added, more to the point, that there is also something dreadfully wrong with the 4,000 years. According to most Biblical scholars, polygyny continued to be practiced well into the biblical period in ancient Israel. In fact, there were instances among the population in Israel as late as the second century CE. The Torah is full of laws governing the practice of polygamy, and we know of several prominent Biblical figures who had more than one wife. For example, Esau, Jacob, David, and Solomon. Even Herod with the special permission of the Romans.

In Greece the situation was the same. The richer the man the more wives he had. Marriages, just as in ancient Israel, were arranged. By the age of fourteen girls were married off to men who were usually a great deal older. The average marriage age for men in ancient Greece was about 30.

Rome was different. It was a strictly monogamous society. Marriage meant the joining in matrimony of one man and one woman. It was a very strict rule, and that’s why Herod had to get special permission from his Roman overlords to have more than one wife.

So, we can forget about the 4,000 years. Our views on marriage today come largely from the teachings of Jesus and the Roman practice of monogamy. I’m no Biblical scholar, so I can’t judge whether there was any connection between Roman marital mores and those of the Judaean society in which Jesus lived.

It is hard to tell from where this erroneous  information about the marital practices of ancient times comes from. But Christian Democratic politicians keep repeating this magic number, which is wrong no matter what calendar they use. The only thing I don’t understand is why Zoltán Balog, Orbán’s spiritual adviser who is after all a Protestant minister, doesn’t straighten him out on the subject. He, as opposed to the Catholic Christian Democrats, ought to be familiar with the Bible.

Ulrike Lunacek, European PM, sues Zsolt Bayer

Does the name Ulrike Lunacek ring a bell? For the faithful readers of Hungarian Spectrum it should.  She is an Austrian member of the European Parliament who at the European Parliament’s Committee of Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs hearings on “The Situation in Hungary” called attention to the fact that in the much glorified Peace March of January 2012 there were a number of antisemitic posters. That prompted Zsolt Bayer to call her all sorts of names on EchoTV, the far-right television station whose owner, Gábor Széles, also owns Magyar Hírlap. The staff of the television station and the newspaper overlap. Zsolt Bayer writes a weekly column in the paper and also has a political show on Friday nights on EchoTV called ” Korrektúra.” The details can be read in a post that appeared here on February 15 entitled “Fidesz style: Ulrike Lunacek versus Zsolt Bayer.” 

Ulrike Lunacek was right. There were antisemitic posters carried by the peace marchers.

Ulrike Lunacek was right. There were antisemitic posters carried by the peace marchers.

Here are a few choice words of Zsolt Bayer. “Then comes a half-witted [The Germans translated it as ‘brain amputeed’] impetiginous lying idiot, Ulrike Lunacek, and I expressed myself delicately … The whole rotten filthy lie from the mouth of a rotten filth bag.” He went on and told the audience his opinion of the European Union in general: “The Union not only has no ethos, it has nothing. The Union has Daniel Cohn-Bendit and Neelie Kroes, and that little green, one cannot even remember her name, yes, Ulrike Lunacek.”

But the world is small and Ulrike Lunacek read about Bayer’s remarks and insisted that EchoTV distance itself from Zsolt Bayer. Naturally, they didn’t. Then she turned to the Media Authority. Again, nothing happened. But, it seems, Ms Lunacek is insistent. She decided to sue Zsolt Bayer. Here is the claim she submitted to the Metropolitan Court (Fővárosi Bíróság).

* * *

 

Metropolitan Court

1055 Budapest,

Markó u. 27.

To the honorable Metropolitan Court,

Ulrike Lunacek (address: European Parliament, Bât. Altiero Spinelli, 08G169; Rue Wiertz 60, 1047 Bruxelles, Belgium) as claimant hereby submits the following

claim

through her appointed, external legal representative against Zsolt Bayer as first defendant (2098 Pilisszentkereszt, Tölgyfa utca 13.) and ECHO HUNGÁRIA TV. Co. (1145 Budapest, Törökőr u. 78.) as second defendant requesting the Court to declare violation of personality rights, to prohibit from further infringement and to claim for damages.

Hereby I apply to the Court to declare violation of the claimant’s personality rights and prohibit the defendants from further infringement based on the detailed justification below, in accordance with Section 75 and 76 of the Civil Code, also considering points a) and b) of Section 84 Paragraph (1).

In accordance with Section 84 Paragraph (1) point e) and Section 339 and 355 of the Civil Code I apply to the Court to oblige the defendants to pay 300000 HUF (1st defendant) and 500 000 HUF (2nd defendant) for the damages, including interests calculated from the 9th of February, 2012.

The justification of our action is the following:

I. Brief summary of the case

In the TV show titled Korrektúra, broadcast on ECHO TV (2nd defendant), the 1st defendant made the below quoted statements, severely violating the claimant’s personality (inherent) rights. The statements were made as reactions to the claimant’s speech at the hearing of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) on the 9th of February, 2012. The recording of the speech was not presented in the program and the interpretation of its content was significantly biased.

„Then comes a brainless, impetiginous, lying idiot, Ulrike Lunacek, (…) and how nicely I expressed myself. (…) The whole thing is a rotten, dirty lie from the mouth of a rotten dirt.

After this the presenter and the other persons participating in the program make ambiguous comments questioning the femininity of the claimant and they seem to enjoy their own „wittiness”.

1. Violating inherent rights by declaring infringing ” opinion”: slander and violation of human dignity.

According to our position, the defendants severely violated the personality rights of the plaintiff by making fun of her femininity in a manner that would be unacceptable in a pub as well, not only in a TV show. The verbal abuse was pointless and uncalled for, ignoring the human dignity of the plaintiff. Although the plaintiff, as a member of the European Parliament and as a public figure must endure criticism and critical opinion but she should not be required to tolerate vulgar and abusive statements and remarks that hurt her female dignity.

Points (2) –(3) of Article Q of the Fundamental Law of Hungary states that Hungary shall ensure harmony between international law and Hungarian law in order to fulfill its obligations under international law. Hungary shall accept the generally recognised rules of international law. Points (1)-(2) of Article I of the Fundamental Law acknowledge that the inviolable and inalienable fundamental rights of MAN shall be respected and defended by the State as a primary obligation. Hungary shall recognise the fundamental rights which may be exercised by individuals and communities.

Article II of the Fundamental Law states that human dignity shall be inviolable. Every human being shall have the right to life and human dignity; embryonic and foetal life shall be subject to protection from the moment of conception.

According to Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights integrated into the Hungarian legal system in the XXXI. Act of 1993 everyone has the right to freedom of expression. According to the 2nd point, the exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society (…) for the protection of the reputation or the rights of others.

According to Point 2 Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, integrated into the Hungarian legal system in the Act No. 8 of 1976, everyone has the right to freedom of expression. Point 3 states that the exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of the article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary for respect of the rights or reputations of others (…).

According to Section 75 Paragraph (1) of the Civil Code, inherent rights shall be respected by everyone. These inherent rights are protected by law. Within the meaning of Section 76, discrimination against private persons on the grounds of gender, race, ancestry, national origin, or religion; injury of body and health, violation of the freedom of conscience, any unlawful restriction of personal freedom, contempt for or insult to the honor, integrity or human dignity of private persons shall be deemed as violations of inherent rights.

According to common judicial practice, criticism that is wantonly offensive or humiliating, or that is wantonly hurtful and humiliating in its phrasing,  can be considered infringing ( BH 1993.89; BH 2002.352; BTD2006.1466).

Without any doubt, the 1st defendant formulated his negative opinion about the plaintiff in a deliberately malignant way, ignoring human dignity. The phrases that he used are obviously unduly humiliating, brutal beyond reason and deliberately degrading.

2. Sanctions

Based on the above elaborated aspects we claim that the defendants violated the inherent rights of the plaintiff, therefore we apply to the honorable Court to impose both objective and subjective sanctions.

We request the honorable Court to:

a)                  establish that infringement has taken place based on Section 75 Paragraph (1), Sections 76 and 78 and Section 85 Paragraph (3), taking into consideration point a) of Section 84 Paragraph (1) of the Civil Code.

b)                 to oblige the defendants to terminate the infringement and prohibit them from further infringement based on Section 75 Paragraph (1), Sections 76 and 78 and Section 85 Paragraph (3), considering point b) of Section 84 Paragraph (1), having regard to the regularity of the articles and programmes.

c)                  to oblige the defendants to pay 300000 HUF (1st defendant) and 500000 (2nd defendant) indemnification for non-pecuniary damages as well as its interests calculated from the 9th of February, 2012, based on Section 75 Paragraph (1), Sections 76 and 78 as well as Section 84 Paragraph (1) point e).

Based on the above explained aspects, our position is that the defendants unambiguously violated the inherent rights of the plaintiff, therefore we think that the necessity of imposing objective sanctions is not questionable and does not require further justification.

As a result of the abusive TV program of the defendants, the plaintiff was sought out by several people, she was questioned about the statements made in the program: she is continuously forced to make explanations. The vituperative nature of the TV program instigating hate against the plaintiff is unambiguous.

As a Member of Parliament, the trustworthiness and credibility of the plaintiff have outstanding significance, therefore the negative effects of discrediting and verbally abusing her in front of the wide public are hard to estimate.

According to our position the amount of the indemnification for non-pecuniary damages claimed by the plaintiff is in accordance with the current judicial practice and cannot be considered exaggerated having regard to the severe infringement that has taken place.

In view of the above we kindly apply to the the honorable Court to accept our request and to award the defendants our litigation costs.

A 1990. évi XCIII. törvény 62.§ (1) f) pontja alapján felperest illetékfeljegyzési jog illeti meg.

A Tisztelt Fővárosi Törvényszék hatáskörét a Pp. 23. § (1) bekezdésének g) pontjára, illetékességét a Pp 30. § (1) és 40. § (3) bekezdéseire alapítjuk.

Budapest, 11th of February, 2013

Sincerely,

on behalf of the plaintiff Ulrike Lunacek