An interview published on the Hungarian news portal Hirado.hu reveals the length at which German public broadcasters will go in their activism against Hungary’s government, those they perceive as government sympathizers, and lately, businesses investing in Hungary.
Jan Mainka, founder and editor in chief of Budapester Zeitung, a news site intended to give up-to-date information to German businesses active in Hungary, has told Hirado.hu that some of his advertisers have recently received a letter from the public broadcaster ARD affiliated news outlet RBB asking them suggestively as why they are sponsoring, what they called a “far-right” newspaper. In the editor in chief’s view they might not even have planned broadcasting the results of their inquiry, only to use it as an excuse to intimidate the independent-minded small newspaper.
In the letter sent to businesses the employee of the German broadcaster states it as a fact that the Budapest Zeitung is a pro-Hungarian government outlet that gives space to radical right-wing voices. Mainka has rejected the claims that his newspaper should be labelled as pro-government saying that “We are basically an economic newspaper. We mainly want to inform German investors living in Hungary with serious, credible and truly relevant material. This information is provided by ministers, such as Mihály Varga, László Palkovics or Péter Szijjártó. This is what our readers are interested in, which is why articles like this appear in the Budapester Zeitung.”
The editor in chief has in turn called the German public broadcaster’s behavior into question stating that the fact that “RBB makes such accusations is doubly ridiculous. As state-funded media, they are contractually obliged to provide neutral information to the public. In comparison, an analysis of German talk shows was recently published paints a different picture. It looked at the correlation between the number of seats in parliament and the proportion of TV appearances by politicians. It shows that the left-wing Greens are completely over-represented in media appearances: for only 14.8% of the vote, they appear on one in five talk shows. By contrast, the national-conservative AFD, with 10.3 percent, has never received a single invitation. Never. This is what they call neutral information”.
When asked about the possible reasons for the attack against his publication, Mainka explained that his independent-minded reporting is “a nuisance not only to the RBB, but to the entire mainstream German media, who report all kinds of lies about Hungary. They paint a picture, for example, of how great anti-Semitism is here, while we write what (rabbi) Slomo Köves says about the subject, who says that there are few European countries where Jewish communities can live in such safety as in Hungary. The German media report that the borders cannot be defended, and then we report on the Hungarian border fence being built and the successful border defense”.
Mainka has confirmed that he has consulted his legal team and had sent a response to RBB. He is demanding damages from the German broadcasting giant. “If they thought we would not resist, their calculation has failed”, he added. He thinks that the timing of this underhand attack coincides with the coming of a very difficult winter in Germany, with people becoming increasingly dissatisfied. This is why there is a general crackdown on protesting voices and independent media home and abroad.