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Leaders Of Ruling Fidesz Party Slam Magyar Telekom Over “Ákos Scandal”

By Tamás Székely // 2015.12.21.

Magyar Telekom’s decision to cancel a sponsorship agreement with Hungarian pop singer Ákos Kovács over his comments on the role of women in society is reminiscent of the cultural policy of Communist Hungary, the ruling Fidesz party’s parliamentary group leader said. “Comrade [György] Aczél walks among us,” Lajos Kósa said, referring to the prominent culture minister of the Communist era.

Head of the Prime Minister’s Cabinet Office Antal Rogán told Hungarian television channel TV2 that “Magyar Telekom had acted unconstitutionally, violating freedom of opinion and speech by withdrawing funding based merely on a disagreement with someone’s opinion.” “Telekom abused its powers being a large company with lots of money and influence when it terminated its sponsorship contract with the pop singer”, Rogán insisted.

The dispute between Hungarian pop singer Ákos Kovács and Magyar Telekom “may seem minor, but it raises important questions of principle and of a constitutional nature”, Prime Minsiter Viktor Orbán said at a press conference held after the summit of EU heads of state and government in Brussels. “The question is whether an international company may penalise someone because it does not like that person’s views,” Orbán said, adding that “the case is about freedom of expression.”

Last Wednesday Magyar Telekom, the local unit of Deutsche Telekom, decided to cancel its sponsorship agreement with Ákos Kovács over the singer’s comments on the role of women. “The role of women is … belonging to someone, giving birth … being mothers,” the singer said in a television interview. On Thursday Hungarian government’s  spokesperson announced that the cabinet had instructed its ministries to cancel their mobile internet contracts with Magyar Telekom in response to the move.

via hungarymatters.hu and kormany.hu photo: Viktor Juhász – akos.hu