A leftist commentator interprets the firing of the editors of a leading conservative journal as a sign of faltering press freedom in Hungary, while his pro-government counterpart suggests that those who have ‘turned their backs on the Right’, should not pose as right-wingers.
Background information:Századvég is a monthly journal owned by the pro-government think tank of the same name. Its editors were fired, and both the print and online versions of the last issue were withdrawn because it contained two articles by critics of the government. The monthly was founded in 1984 by a group of law students including Viktor Orbán and several of those who went on to found Fidesz in 1988.
In Népszava, Miklós Hargitay writes that the editors triggered the owner’s reaction by inviting critics of the government to describe how the government channels public resources to ‘friendly’ businessmen and through which it distorts the market. Hargitay also suggests that the Prime Minister’s own men have now shown ‘how much truth there is in his statement that the press is free, since one can write whatever one wants’.
On Pesti Srácok, Botond Bálint denies that the free press is in danger in Hungary. The two articles which caused the scandal, he explains, may be posted or printed in other outlets, but Századvég is not supposed to be a liberal mouthpiece. People who support such ideas should ‘write and edit them somewhere else’. Századvég and similar outlets should criticise the government, but from a conservative point of view, rather than according to liberal concepts, Botond writes.