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Zoltan Kovacs, FWM

Hungarian FM educates British critic on freedom

Zoltan Kovacs, the Hungarian State Secretary for International Communications and Relations, said a recent article in a British news paper claiming the Hungarian government was dismantling media freedom and judicial independence “simply doesn’t square with the reality of today’s Hungary”.

Published: July 5, 2019, 4:47 pm

    Budapest

    The author of the June 20 article in the Guardian, Oxford University historian Timothy Garton Ash, had accused Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party and Prime Minister Viktor Orban of having “effectively demolished the independence of the judiciary”. He also claimed that a large part of the country’s media had been consolidated in a “pro-government cartel”.

    The attack from Garton Ash comes in the wake of the Hungarian government largely successful battle against Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros a globalist, who is in favor of mass and illegal immigration, open borders and whose aim is to undermine Europe’s security, culture and identity.

    In his letter, Kovacs said news portals critical of the government had a larger readership than pro-government ones. Critical voices, he said, also had a “dominant audience share” on TV, the medium through which he said 71 percent of Hungarians got their news.

    Responding to Garton Ash’s spurious claims of the state of judicial independence in Hungary, Kovacs said Hungary’s judicial reforms had been “thoroughly reviewed by the EU and the Venice Commission and all questions were resolved”.

    Kovacs also said Garton Ash’s “ideological convictions” were contradicted by facts such as that voter participation in Hungary has been going up, not down.

    Since 2010, the number of marriages had risen, while the number of divorces was down. The number of abortions, he said, was down by nearly a third, with the birth rate rising and the employment rate among women “at an all-time high”.

    Garton Ash has been strongly opposed to conservative leaders of EU nations such as Viktor Orban, arguing that German Chancellor Angela Merkel should “freeze him out”.

    He was particularly upset about Orban’s move against George Soros’ Central European University, decrying the move away from liberalism and globalism under socially conservative political and religious leaders such as Jarosław Kaczynski in Poland and Matteo Salvini in Italy.

    He is a supporter of what he calls the “free world” and liberal democracy, represented in his view by the European Union, the United States under former President Obama and Angela Merkel’s leadership of Germany.

    Garton Ash repeated accusations leveled by Michael Ignatieff, rector of the Central European University in Budapest. The university was founded by Soros, and he declared at the opening that it would “become a prototype of an open society”.

    Ignatieff, an globalist who made an unsuccessful bid to become prime minister of Canada, has spent much of his career fighting nationalism and promoting open borders.

    But in a poll conducted by the Bertelsmann Foundation in 2017, an EU-wide average of 50 percent of those asked agreed with the statement “there are so many foreigners in our country, sometimes I feel like a stranger”. In Italy the figure was 71 percent. Despite this, Garton Ash continues to claim that immigration is only a “symbolic” issue not a real one.

    For “liberal Europe” to succeed, “radical policies such as a universal basic income or a basic job guarantee will be required” he has argued.

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