The right-wing media on the student movement
Today you are being showered with information but all of it is important. Who can forget about the plight of Klubrádió, which is the only opposition FM radio in Budapest and a couple of other cities? The hatred of Viktor Orbán toward the spirit of this free station knows no bounds. Will he have the guts to silence it and with this move arouse mass protests all over the world? A sane person wouldn’t do that.
Because, let’s face it, the world is watching. It’s enough to read the statement of Senator Benjamin Cardin on the senate floor yesterday afternoon. Washington is watching and listening and I’m certain that the 3.5 billion Hungarian forints spent on propaganda by the Orbán government will do no good. This government’s reputation cannot be restored.
And finally, there is the case of Péter Dániel. One could argue over whether his reactions to certain government measures were appropriate, but depriving him of his livelihood is far too severe a punishment. After all, he was fined for damages caused and he is ready to go to jail. And indeed, that László Grespik is one of the luminaries of the Budapest Bar Association who will pass judgment on Dániel is hard to swallow.
Here I would like to write a few words about the pro-government media’s reaction to the student protest. Viktor Orbán is perhaps the most inventive. This morning he claimed that an absolutely perfect system had been worked out by the government but the students prematurely broke off the negotiations. If they had just stayed they would have heard that the money they were supposed to borrow would in almost all cases have been forgiven. If the graduate was employed by the public sector, the state would have paid off his loan and if he were to enter the private sector his employer would have taken over his financial burden. The employer could have deducted the amount paid from the company’s taxes. Oh, yes! Of course!
It seems though that other members of the government were unaware of this scheme because until this morning no one had come up with the explanation that it is actually the students’ fault that they ended up in this sorry state. Earlier what one could hear from government officials was that either the students simply didn’t understand the details of the law or that the opposition was taking advantage of the students’ dissatisfaction.
I would like to summarize a few fairly typical right-wing opinions. Let’s start with Szabolcs Szerető of Magyar Nemzet in an opinion piece entitled “We are bored, we can go home.” He predicted yesterday that the movement will die soon. After all, the whole concept of the university reform changed and therefore there is no need for any more demonstrations and protests. “The death of a revolutionary movement can be caused by its suppression but also when the cause for it disappears.” It is a great more exciting “to protest, to be impertinent with the authorities than to sit down at the negotiating table to work out the details, to attend lectures, or to prepare for exams.” But what is going on today has nothing to do with tuition fees or the number of students eligible to enter university. “These students are only puppets manipulated by others.”
András Stumpf today came out with his own opinion. I should mention that Stumpf is considered to be one of the more liberal members of Heti Válasz’s staff. The title itself is greatly objectionable. In Hungarian: “Tüntizni jó!” The verb “tüntetni” means “to demonstrate,” but by using a playful version of the word he makes the whole movement no more than a gathering of students who get together because these demonstrations are so much fun. If someone alone screams at the top of his lungs people might think him mad. “But if someone does the same thing within a crowd he is a proud citizen who exercises his democratic rights.” Should I quote more?
And finally, an article that appeared in “Polgár Portál, a magyar civil együttműködés lapja.” It seems to me that this organization is closely allied to CÖF, the group that organized the peace marches and that has undertaken the smear campaign against Gordon Bajnai. The author of the article is Gergely Huth, second in charge at Magyar Hírlap. The title is telling: “Erkölcsi hullák hergelik a diákokat” (Morally bankrupt people incite the students). In no time we learn that these morally bankrupt people are Gordon Bajnai and the leaders of the Milla group. Huth warns the students that they are being duped. Huth believes that the opposition forces are actually financing the demonstrations and shows the picture of a sign that according to him cannot be produced on monthly allowances. Of course, we know that HÖOK does have a fairly large budget, and Huth should know that better than you or I.
He attacks HÖOK, especially Dávid Nagy who, according to Huth, is a closet communist who in some mysterious way is connected to Ferenc Gyurcsány. How? Simple! His HÖOK career began in Győr at about the same time Ferenc Gyurcsány became the county chairman of MSZP. Obvious, isn’t it? Apparently Nagy systematically got rid of those members of HÖOK whom he suspected of being Jobbik supporters. A real sin!
So, after the character assassinations of Ferenc Gyurcsány and Gordon Bajnai comes Dávid Nagy. The same Dávid Nagy who everybody, including myself, suspected of being an instrument of Fidesz while it was in opposition and of the Orbán government in the last two and a half years. Sooner or later the black list is going to be very long.