While we in Hungary have grown accustomed to criticism coming from liberal, mainstream news outlets, The Guardian’s editorial board has gone out of its way to push a strongly anti-Orbán narrative. Just last week, they published an editorial on Hungary’s measures to fight the coronavirus, calling it a “power grab” that gives the PM “dictatorial powers.”
Where they excel at sensation, they struggle with bias and facts.
In an opinion published yesterday, long-time Orbán critic Cas Mudde writes that “the rubber stamp parliament has passed a set of ‘emergency measures’ – without actually facing an emergency.”
Wait, what? “Without actually facing an emergency”? I wonder if Mr. Mudde could face the families of those 47 people who have already succumbed to coronavirus in Hungary and repeat the same sentence.
In fact, Hungary’s response to the epidemic is in line with global standards. If The Guardian’s author would have read the law, he would know that Hungary’s amendment to the Criminal Code (something Mudde called “draconian” in a piece two weeks ago) makes it a criminal act to spread false information and distortions that could undermine or thwart efforts to protect the public against the spread of the virus. It’s not about limiting freedom of speech; it’s about preventing the spreading of false information that endangers people’s lives.
Earlier today, The Guardian published not one, but two pieces that, of course, follow the same narrative. While Jason Wilson writes that PM Orbán “has used this crisis to lock the population down, control information and scapegoat his enemies,” another article notes that Katalin Cseh, an MEP of Hungary’s Soros-funded liberal Momentum party, has returned from Brussels to Budapest to serve as a volunteer medic.
While an opposition figure is lauded for her decision to volunteer, the government is condemned for “draconian” measures that “lock the population down, control information and scapegoat…enemies.” Never mind that some 90 percent of Hungarians think differently, according to polls. You won’t find that in any Guardian reporting. And this bias didn’t start yesterday.
In November 2010, seven months after Prime Minister Orbán took office following a landslide victory in parliamentary elections, The Guardian wrote that “Europe needs to send Hungary a signal” about its “attacks on democracy and the rule of law.”
Next, they declared the “death of press freedom” and the dawn of a new “era of censorship reversing the democratic gains of the past 20 years.” They further expressed “concerns” about the independence of the judiciary and “checks and balances.” That was 2011.
They fretted over our new constitution, the Fundamental Law, which came into effect in 2012. They said it provoked concerns – there’s that word again – over human rights and the separation of powers and seemed perplexed at its references to Hungary’s Christian identity and culture.
The Guardian has an unhealthy obsession with the Orbán Government. The paper’s sensational reporting on Hungary is, I’m sure, popular with its far-left readership, but the rest of us should see it for what it plainly is: biased and unprofessional.
Photo credit: Press Gazette