Hungarian Watch

You Say Tomato, I Say To-mah-to

In Uncategorized on February 3, 2011 at 10:00 pm

What is Hungary’s agenda for Europe, you ask?  We’ve been curious as well.  Thankfully, Janos Csak, Hungary’s Ambassador to the UK, has decided to fill everyone in via the Wall Street Journal.  It makes a good read.

Some highlights:

*”All my countrymen regret the controversy that the new media law caused at the very moment we took up the EU presidency.”

Good to know.

*”It has been a trying start to the Hungarian presidency.”

Yes, yes it has.

*”It is my sincere hope that my government’s response to the EU’s concerns about our new media law will draw a line under a difficult few weeks for us.”

A straight line, a diagonal line, or perhaps a zig-zag?

*Much has been written and said about the new law, and my objective here is not to go into the details or play the blame game.”

Thank God.  We’re so sick of the blame game.

“I concede that my government could have done more to explain the new regulations and the reasons they were necessary. Equally, the government’s political opponents at home and across Europe could have taken more time to read the text and understand the rationale behind it.”

Well, we very much enjoyed reading the highly creative English translation of the 229 page law.

*”I am pleased that a formalized process is now under way to resolve the EU’s remaining concerns in a sober and proportionate fashion. As successive ministers have said, our government will make any amendments to bring the law into line with EU regulations if necessary.”

At least you’re being reasonable.

*”For the record, the media law is not designed to restrict freedom of speech, stifle opinion or limit the plurality of media.”


*”Successive governments, including in the U.K., have in recent days announced their intention to revise their own media regulations to address such questions. We in Hungary do not claim to have all the answers, but we are taking the initiative in order to safeguard public morality in a converged media world.”

“Safeguard public morality” is a frightening phrase, Mr. Csak. Did we say reasonable?

*”Much of the criticism has been based on the assertion that the making of the law was in some way undemocratic. This is plainly untrue. The Hungarian Parliament, which framed and passed the legislation, is democratically elected by the people. The political composition of the Parliament is the incontestable result of the will of Hungarian voters. Respect for democracy and the will of the people is what we should champion at home and abroad.”

So, what you’re saying is, “Our version of democracy=we dish, you take.” Yes, Fidesz was elected with a clear majority by the Hungarians who chose to come out and vote this past April.  But just because you have a 2/3’s majority in Parliament does not mean that everything you do is, in fact, the will of the people.  You were not elected in a democratic election to then abuse the democratic process.

Read the full text of Janos Csak’s article, Hungary’s Agenda for Europe, on the Wall Street Journal’s web page.


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