We’ve grown accustomed over the last several years to the sensationalism and distortions of international media outlets and their clickbait coverage of Hungary and, particularly, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. But this 25-minute video report by Al-Jazeera sinks to a new low.
Entitled “How Democracy Dies,” producers at Al-Jazeera spoke to a cast of notorious Orbanophobes who are really, really worried about the state of Hungarian democracy.
According to Mihály Hardy, radio host at the liberal Klubrádió, “Viktor Orbán is dangerous for Hungarian democracy,” because “no price is too high” for him to stay in power. Hardy later explains that this is the reason why Klubrádió had to be “silenced.” What he does not say, however, is that Klubrádió, in fact, was not “silenced,” its broadcasting rights were simply not renewed because the radio channel had previously violated broadcasting rules on a number of occasions, and because of the errors it made repeatedly in the renewal application process. The media authority’s decision to withdraw broadcasting rights was therefore entirely based on the regulations.
I don’t want to offend the people behind the radio station, but here’s a hypothetical question. Had Prime Minister Orbán really wanted to “silence” dissenting media outlets, wouldn’t have he picked something a tad more significant than Klubrádió? Maybe the biggest Hungarian commercial TV channel, or one of the several left-leaning online news portals, like Index, HVG and 24.hu, that reach far more people than those that the international media would label “government-friendly.”
Producers at Al-Jazeera, of course, couldn’t leave out Péter Krekó, George Soros’s favorite “Hungary expert,” who rose to notoriety last December for suggesting that it might be a profitable tactic for the Hungarian opposition parties to drum up anti-vaccination sentiment among Hungarians. Sure. And this is the same man who seems surprised that ‘PM Orbán’s transformation of the state’ went down with “almost no application of violence.”
Wait. What? “Almost”? Is he suggesting that there was ‘some’ violence? When and where exactly? Please, Mr. Krekó, enlighten me.
However, regardless of the many problems with the claims made by the people featured in the video, the biggest responsibility weighs on the shoulders of the producers over at Al-Jazeera. They had the audacity to draw parallels between Myanmar, a country on the brink of civil war, and Hungary, a well-functioning European democracy.
Come on, they should know better.
Photo credit: Al-Jazeera