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Journalist Fined for Calling Hungarians ‘Filthy Hungarian Migrants’ in Ironic Op-ed

Péter Cseresnyés 2021.03.25.

Hungary’s Supreme Court Kúria fined liberal Hungarian journalist Árpád W. Tóta for one of his op-ed articles, in which he ironically calls Hungarians “filthy Hungarian migrants” and “Hungarian bandits,” 444 reports.

Tóta’s opinion piece was published by liberal weekly HVG in 2018 titled “Hungarians don’t steal, they just roam.”

In his piece, Tóta ironically draws a parallel between the relation of the early medieval European states and the Hungarians (Magyars) who often raided them and the weak actions of the EU to stop the Orbán government’s alleged misuse of EU funds and its violations of law. In his article, he calls the Magyars “filthy Hungarian migrants” and “Hungarian bandits,” probably in reference to the Orbán government’s harsh anti-migration campaigns.

Later, two private individuals filed a lawsuit against the article, and represented by former Jobbik MP Tamás Gaudi-Nagy.

The Court of First Instance ruled that Tóta had offended the dignity of the plaintiffs in the article with statements “insulting the dignity of the Hungarian nation” such as “filthy Hungarian migrants,” and “Hungarian bandits,” and ordered the defendant to remove the insulting terms from the article and to issue a statement of apology within 15 days and to pay a total of 400,000 forints (EUR 1097) as compensation.

The Appeals Court dismissed the lawsuit, but in its current ruling, the Supreme Court (Kúria) agreed with the first-instance verdict.

When asked by news site Media1 about the ruling, Tóta replied with a famous and more than 100-year-old poem by Endre Ady who is regarded as one of the greatest Hungarian poets and was also often extremely critical of Hungarians in his literary pieces.