Hungarian Watch

The American Hungarian Federation Wants “Fair and Balanced” Reporting?

In Uncategorized on January 24, 2011 at 6:01 pm

In an e-news letter sent on January 21st, the notoriously Orban-loving American Hungarian Federation included a “headline” entitled A Rush to Judgment: AHF Statement on the Hungarian Media Law.

In this first official statement from the organization, AHF accuses the international media of reporting based on hyperbole rather than facts.

“We should certainly be vigilant and attentive to press freedoms and the laws governing them in Hungary and elsewhere in Europe. However, there has been an unprecedented rush to judgment and vitriolic media coverage of the newly enacted media law in Hungary. This judgment seems to have been based, at best, on a partial understanding of the law itself and, in some cases, appears to be motivated by bias or political considerations. The negative coverage is premature, unfair and paints a false picture of Hungary, a nation which emerged from over 40 years of Soviet-imposed Communist repression to successfully re-join the democratic community of nations. Hungary has amply demonstrated its commitment to Western values – now and in the past.”

AHF goes on to defend Orban’s Media Law by saying that the Hungarian government supports a full review of the law and is open to making changes.  They ask that the international media refrain from judgment until that review is complete.  (So, the media shouldn’t report anything about the media law until a pain-staking, exhaustive review concludes?  No wonder Orban loves you guys.)  They also make the case that other Western European countries have similar media laws, but Hungary is the only EU member being singled out.  Um…could someone PLEASE tell us WHAT countries’ media laws are similar?  Not Russia, not Belarus–but EU countries.  Which ones?

Based on this first statement, it appears that our friends at AHF believe Reuters, Spiegel, The Budapest Times, The Financial Times, Bloomberg, BBC, USA Today, CNN, The Independent, The Economist, The New York Times, The Prague Daily Monitor, The Guardian, Variety, the Associated Press, Al Jazeera, the Wall Street Journal, The Nation, and The Washington Post are all reporting hastily and unfairly on this new media law.  AND, apparently, Human Rights Watch was just being plain mean to Orban when it issued a statement against Hungary’s media law and the negative trend in the country’s wider human rights obligations.  Not to mention that a preliminary EU investigation has already deemed the media law “unsatisfactory,” and Hungary now has two-weeks to prove the law complies with EU standards or it faces a court case.  But let’s not report on this until Hungary’s two-weeks are up.  We wouldn’t want to be rushing to conclusions, would we?

AHF, it’s a real shame you haven’t been able to get Fox News to report on the merits of Orban’s current reign in Hungary.  We have a feeling they just might be the only “fair and balanced” news organization your members take stock in these days. But that’s just a hunch…

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