Christian News Agency Fears Government Control
By BosNewsLife News Center in Budapest
Demonstrators holding a sign with a photo of Prime Minister Viktor Orban in an old television set. They say the country may soon be 'Orbanistan' under new media legislation with mainly Orban in television journals...Stefan J. Bos for BosNewsLife
Demonstrators holding a sign with a photo of Prime Minister Viktor Orban in an old television set. They say the country may soon be 'Orbanistan' under new media legislation with mainly Orban in television journals...Stefan J. Bos for BosNewsLife

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (BosNewsLife)– Central and Eastern Europe’s first online Christian news agency, BosNewsLife, was ordered Wednesday, February 9, to register with Hungarian authorities under a new controversial law that critics say is part of a crackdown on independent media.

Hungary’s media watchdog, the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH), said Budapest-based BosNewsLife had till June 30 to register. “As the website is already working, it will have to meet the conditions,” of relevant paragraphs of the new media legislation, wrote NMHH’s Ditta Boncz, who heads the authority’s tenders and legal department. Boncz made the announcement in an e-mail exchange with BosNewsLife.
It was not immediately clear what sanctions would follow in case BosNewsLife refuses to register with the NMHH, whose key members were appointed by Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party.
Under the new law electronic media such as BosNewsLife could face fines of over $100,000 and broadcasters nearly $1 million if their news coverage is deemed unbalanced, immoral or violating human dignity.
FOUNDER CONCERNED
BosNewsLife founder Stefan J. Bos, a Dutch journalist, said he was concerned about this development “as even English language media and foreign journalists working in Hungary will now be subject to government control.”
He said the agency ran “balanced but critical stories” about the media legislation and other government policies. “as well as am opinionated-column on Prime Minister Orban turning Hungary into Orbanistan” a reference to autocratic Central Asian nations. “I am wondering if that will increase the government pressure on BosNewsLife to register. It also reminds me to the Communist days when media, and churches, had to register.”
Wednesday’s registration order to BosNewsLife comes amid tensions between Hungary and the European Union over the media law. The EU’s executive branch, the European Commission, has expressed concerns that that the legislation may not be in line with European standards.
“The commission services have serious doubts as to the compatibility of the Hungarian legislation with Union law,” said Commissioner Neelie Kroes last month in a leaked letter. Parts of the law could violate basic EU rights guaranteeing the freedom of expression and information, she said.
“WIDE IMPOSITION”
Kroes wrote that the Commission is especially concerned about the “wide imposition” to media to provide balanced coverage and the registration requirement for all media, including print and online outlets.
She said the requirements “can be considered as an unjustified obstacle” for media providers that want to work from Hungary or provide their services for Hungary from another EU nation.
The legislation, which was introduced January 1, has been criticized by governments and newspapers across Europe, clouding Hungary’s six- month tenure of holding the EU presidency. Additionally, thousands of Hungarians demonstrated last month against the legislation in Budapest and other cities while on Wednesday, February 9, news emerged that Dutch and other international agricultural journalists have also protested.
Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn warned that if the EU does not pressure Hungary to change the law, “it will be very difficult to talk to China or Iran about human rights.”
CHANGING LAW?
Hungary has agreed to provide the Commission with proposals to change the law by Thursday, although Prime Minister Orban defended the legislation in an earlier interview. “Now we should have a more professional, legal discussion on the text. The text is very European,” he said.
“There is no special regulation, no special Hungarian legislation in this law. All paragraphs and elements of this [legislation] are imported from EU Countries. So I think it is a European regulation,” he said last month.
Bos said BosNewsLife would closely monitor the situation. “We are based in Budapest, Hungary, from where we thought we could independently cover international news stories on Christian persecution and other developments for both a Hungarian and worldwide audience. We hope Hungary will not turn back the clock more than 20 years when Hungary was a Communist-run Soviet satellite state.”
Christian News Agency Fears Government Control

132 COMMENTS

  1. We are standing with you in “much” prayer over the new legislation and trust you will have freedom to share the “Truth” as you always do.

    Blessings, Bill Trimper – Chino Hills, CA

  2. You write: “the NMHH, whose key members were appointed by Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party”
    “media such as BosNewsLife could face fines of over $100,000 and broadcasters nearly $1 million if their news coverage is deemed unbalanced, immoral or violating human dignity.”

    You are objecting to a law what you obviously still do not understand? The members of the media authority are are not appointed by any party! The are APPOINTED BY THE HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT!
    Also, THERE ARE NO PENALTIES FOR UNBALANCED COVERAGE! Please read the law, stop the fear mongering. Is this the level of objectivity of your reporting also on other matters?

  3. Dear P. Anthony,

    I have read the law and so has Neelie Kroes and others. Violating human dignity, whatever they mean with that sounds pretty unbalanced to me. Fidesz has a two thirds majority in parliament and uses that power to only appoint its own people in the Media Council. We have given different opinions in the news story.

    Stefan J. Bos

  4. Dear William Trimper,

    Thank you very much for your prayers. They are very much appreciated at this challenging time. Ofcourse we will continue in the way we always have been reporting, whatever happens.

    God bless you,

    Stefan

  5. Dear Stefan Bos,

    To my understanding, this is how democracy works: You vote for people who you want to represent you and those getting the most votes will be elected and they will form the parliament of a country. You can either respect this or disrespect this.

    The fact is that in Hungary, in 2010, a coalition of two parties was given two-third majority by the voters not in one, but in two elections: first in the national parliamentary elections and six months later, by pretty much the same margin, in the municipal elections. The members of the parliament have been sent to the parliament to the nations business, i.e. to govern: for example, to enact laws.

    If you decide that a law, or in this case a non-governmental committee established by the government, is somehow not to be trusted, because it was appointed by a parliament where the governing coalition has a two-third majority, you are questioning the legitimacy of a government elected by two-third majority, and consequently you dismiss the democratic process that elected that government. This is what is called an anti-democratic attitude.

    As for fines: again, there are simply no fines for “unbalanced” reporting.

    Ms. Kroes and her committee read the law and having compared it to EU standards did not find anything wrong regarding fines. The three points they objected to were minor and mostly technical. One of those was concerned about registration of media outlets and whether it does or should apply to foreign media. As you know, the Hungarian government is currently closely working with Kroes and the EU commission, as it promised to do in case there will be EU objection about the law.

    Therefore, Sir, please do not report about this issue, from Hungary, as if you were in some grave danger, in some kind of a hellhole, called Hungary.

    If I may suggest, it would be more beneficial for you to learn what brought about this situation in Hungary. Were you this much concerned about democracy in Hungary during the past eight years when there was a party coalition in government that publicly acknowledged that they got elected because they lied and cheated day and night? Were you concerned that the main party of that coalition had a 40 year-long dictatorship on its public record, and it had sitting members of parliament who were torturers on the communist regime? Are you concerned that this party is actually a minority share holder (close to 30%) in one of the largest national daily newspapers, which incidentally spearheaded the protest action against the media law, and which happens to be its (and what used to be the old Communist party’s) official mouth peace? Were you concerned that this government used brutal force against peaceful demonstrators who demanded the prime ministers resignation due to his public acknowledgement of winning the lections by lying and cheating? And, I do not even expect you to be concerned about this government for raising the national dept from 52% to 80% in eight years, while its minsters and supporters got richer than most in Hungary.

    These are only a few issues. And this is the reason why the current government was given two-thirds majority in the parliament. As I said, you can disregard this, and present Hungary as a rogue, runaway dictatorship, or you can feel for the people of the country who wanted a clear change and gave the new government two-thirds majority. You can be a democrat or an anti-democrat. It is your choice.

  6. You need to get offshore hosting and domain registration now to protect yourself. Register it as a media outlet in a more favorable country as well if you need to where you can keep the correspondents off the public record. Try Panama.

    There is no justice now, you have to do whatever is nescessary to avoid the Marxist powers who will take everything you own by bringing you through the court system. I hope you already have your money offshore or in foreign real estate under a trust.

  7. Dear P. Anthony,

    On democracy. The fact that many Palestinians voted for Hamas, many Germans for Hitler’s Nazi party, many Austrians for the late far right politician Haider, does not mean that the international community has to agree with the policies of those democratically elected persons or parties. You may call that an “anti-democratic” attitude. I call it freedom of expression. Hungary is currently holding the rotating presidency of the EU. “It’s Our Turn!” says a slogan.

    But that comes with responsibilities. Unlike in Hungary, Orban’s Fidesz party does not have a two-thirds majority in the European Parliament. And there, as well as within the European Commission, the media law have raised what you call “minor” and “technical” points. Kroes’ concerns that parts of the law “could violate basic EU rights guaranteeing the freedom of expression and information” seems very serious to me. Obviously the law makes clear that journalists can be fined for unbalanced and immoral reporting for reasons clearly stated in the story. Kroes herself expresses concerns about the requirement for “balanced reporting,” whatever that means under the rules of a government appointed Media Council
    And as Hungary is currently holding the presidency of an institution representing not just 10 million Hungarians but hundreds of millions of people will make it in the words of at least one foreign minister “very difficult” for the EU “to talk to China or Iran about human rights.”
    You also mention the Hungarian Christian Democrats, or KDNP.

    They are a junior member of what is officially called the Fidesz-KDNP alliance. The KDNP would arguably not have been in parliament without the giant Fidesz, with whom they have shared candidates. Finally: Yes I have extensively covered the scandals surrounding the Hungarian Socialist Party and its congress where former Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany admitted to have lied day and night about the situation of Hungary’s economy. I covered this for major international news organizations, reaching millions of people, including Voice of America, Deutsche Welle radio and television and others.

    Fidesz voters may well have expected a change under Prime Minister Orban or as he calls it a ‘voters revolution’. As I pointed out in a recent column, critics would argue that the recently elected, Oxford educated, Orban may have received his inspiration from Animal Farm, written by late British writer George Orwell. He writes about animals taking over a farm thinking it will be the start of a better life. Their dreams of a world where all animals will be equal, and all properties shared, turn into a nightmare.

    Soon the pigs take control and one of them, Napoleon, becomes the leader of everyone. One by one the principles of the revolution are abandoned. Until the animals have even less freedom than before. Orwell’s book remains more actual than ever. In the words of author and philosopher Agnes Heller: “Orban wants to become the chief of the tribe.” I am a democrat. But it’s my choice which policies to support. The news story on the media law above showed both opinions. It’s my hope that Hungary will continue to be open for all opinions, by allowing journalists to do their work.

    Stefan J. Bos, BosNewsLife

  8. Dear Max,

    Hopefully you are not suggesting to foreign investors spending billions of dollars in Hungary, creating thousands of jobs, and the many smaller business people here that Panama is already a better place to be. That’s what I personally hope to avoid.

    I love Hungary, but am concerned about its future. International credit agencies have already downgraded Hungary to just above junk status. Concerns over policies are part of that reason. But with Hungary still part of the European Union there may be still some hope that the government and the Fidesz dominated parliament will take the European Commission’s concerns seriously, including about the media law. Otherwise we will have to flee perhaps. Not even that far. Several neighboring EU countries are also vying for attention from investors.

    Best regards,

    Stefan J. Bos

  9. You refer (in your answer to P. Anthony) to Agnes Heller in defence of your position: ‘In the words of author and philosopher Agnes Heller: “Orban wants to become the chief of the tribe”.’Are you not aware that this person is presently being investigated for a massive piece of graft? In the light of that, do you think it safe to take her (quite devastating) criticism of Viktor Orbán seriously, let alone commend her opinion to your readers?

    It worries me deeply that you discount the significance of a democratically elected government. You do this with your reference, inter alia, to Animal Farm. It is impossible that you do not intend this reference as a disparagement of Viktor Orbán, the present Hungarian government, and the Hungarian voting public. This, I fear, has you ‘taking sides’ not only unequivocally but also disingenuously. I, a Hungarian voter, resent this deeply.

  10. Dear Elle J.

    First of all: Don’t worry. It has become clear from my previous comments that I do NOT discount the significance of a democratically elected government. But that does not mean that I, or anyone else, has no right to question certain policies. However in Hungary — and your comment seems to suggest that — it’s my experience that a journalist questioning certain policies is immediately accused of “‘taking sides.” Could you tell me which side?

    It can’t be the Socialists or Jobbik , who I have all criticized when needed, or even the Politics Can Be Different Party.

    I am looking forward to your concrete sources regarding Heller’s alleged involvement in graft. She told me her opinion in an interview. It’s up to the reader to decide about her comments.

    Best regards,

    Stefan J. Bos, BosNewsLife

  11. Dear Mr Bos,

    Curiously enough, the Anglo press has made no reference at all to the graft of which Agnes Heller and her friends are accused. But you might be able to glean some salient information from the fact that the prominent philosopher Daniel Dennett has publicly withdrawn his signature to a letter that called upon the Hungarian Academy of Sciences to support her and them. Here is Prof. Dennett’s letter: http://www.newappsblog.com/2011/02/dennett-retracks-endorsement-of-open-letter-on-hungary-open-letter-to-professor-jozsef-palinkas-pres.html.

    The Hungarian press, of all political hues, is of course full of the Heller et al. case. Here is one article that announces that their case has been referred to police investigation: http://www.mno.hu/portal/760993?searchtext=Heller%20%C3%81gnes. Perhaps you know someone who can translate this for you.

    And, your ‘side’, I would say, is clearly the side for which Heller has long been the ideologue: the so-called (now decisively ousted) ‘socialists’. Despite your having claimed that you have condemned the excesses of the previous (‘socialist’) Hungarian government, I have not been able to find a single article of yours that does this. Perhaps you can supply a link?

  12. Dear Mr Bos,

    You invited me to post my ‘concrete sources regarding Heller’s alleged involvement in graft’. I did so. But you have deleted it. This gives your readers the impression that I did not respond to your invitation. Do you think this honest?

  13. Dear Elle J.

    You clearly don’t know me well. You asked for some links with critical reports about the previous government? Sure. You can find them on BosNewsLife as well. But let me invite you to read the transcript of one of many reports I did, this one on Marketplace aired in the United States on several public radio networks. http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2006/09/19/an_ugly_night_in_budapest/

    Or take reports on the Voice of America
    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2006/09/mil-060920-voa08.htm

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2006/09/mil-060919-voa07.htm

    http://www.51voa.com/voa_standard_english/VOA_Standard_8112.html

    http://www.voanews.com/english/news/a-13-2007-05-20-voa31-66715332.html?rss=europe

    As you can see we have posted also your comments. I am not sure why the Anglo press didn’t cover the alleged graft yet. Words like “it has been whispered” in the close-to-the government Magyar Nemzet paper that you send as a second link may have something to do with that. We interviewed Heller during an event of Nepszava newspaper where she was one of the speakers expressing concerns about the media law.

    In a seperate column I could have said “chief of the tribe” myself. But since these were her words I wanted to quote her. I am not sure, based on first and especially the second link of the editorial in the close to the government Magyar Nemzet newspaper, as to how much she personally was involved in “graft”. The article seems to me more about money allegedly paid to an institution linked to “liberal” philosophers in which Heller and others were mentioned.

    As far as I see prosecutors have not charged her with anything yet. But even if she was involved in graft, as you claim, this debate here is about the media law.

    Best regards,

    Stefan J. Bos, BosNewsLife

  14. Dear Mr Bos,

    I acknowledge that ‘this debate here is about the media law’. But you brought up Agnes Heller as your authority for a derogatory (and quite unsustainable) remark about the prime minister, Viktor Orbán. I challenged this with the information that she is hardly reliable in this case, given that his government’s minister is presently having her investigated for graft.

    You appear to have misunderstood the Hungarian article on the second link I posted. Its point is that two instances of state financial support for research have been referred to the police by the minister for accountability, Gyula Budai. One research project, on a theme that examines Nietzsche, Lukács and Heidegger, is Agnes Heller’s. She received a grant of HUF 54.9 million (USD $273,715) for it. Her fellow philosopher’s, Mihály Vajda’s, grant was HUF 90 million (USD $448,857) for a research project called ‘The European Spirit and Totalitarians’. Both project produced nothing more that a very ordinary postmodernist essay from each ‘researcher’. (As you know, philosophers in the world’s most affluent countries cannot expect any state financial support for articles they write, let alone such very generous sums.)

    These are just plain facts. Agnes Heller does not even deny them.

    The link I posted is indeed from Magyar Nemzet, a newspaper that is close to the present government. But there are no ‘words’ in it like ‘it has been whispered’, nor any sequences that make an even remotely similar sense. Also, you went to the newspaper Nepszava, the mouthpiece of the former ‘socialist’ government, and currently of what remains of the ‘socialist’ parties, MSZP and SZDSZ. (Even this paper, by the way, does not deny the facts of the Heller/Vajda case.) Did you not think that this was not exactly an objective milieu from which to glean views of the new Hungarian media law? Do you know that Nepszava supports the old media law, which allows the closing down of a media outlet if a government so desires?

    Thank you for the list of your writings. I’m afraid, however, that I find in them no criticism of the egregious financial and social behaviours of the former ‘socialist’ Hungarian government. Indeed, you come over as an apologist for that government, even to the point that you seek to give the impression (first-cited article) that the riot police were trying to contain a violent, rioting crowd. In fact, the demonstrating crowd calling for the resignation of the ‘socialist’ prime minister Gyurcsány was entirely peaceful, and consisted not only of young people, but also of families with children. The attack, with tear gas and rubber bullets, by the riot police took us all by surprise. People who suffered injuries, such as loss of eyesight, false imprisonment, assault by police, etc., have since been granted compensation.

  15. Dear Stefan Bos,

    You compare the last national elections in Hungary to the election of Hitler and his National Socialist party, against which you have to exercise your “freedom of expression.” If you did not mean this to be an insult, well, it is!

    You compare the current Hungarian government and the prime minister to the leaders of the Animal Farm. I guess, you really want to make clear what you think about the Hungarian government and the people who voted for them in Hungary.

    You are saying that it is “very difficult” for the EU to talk to China about human rights abuses, because … am I missing something here? So, why exactly is this case? How exactly does the Hungarian political system and situation compare to the Chinese? I am at loss!

    Regarding the media law:

    If the Hungarian government really wanted to sneak by the EU something nasty, like a bad media law, they would not have ratified it the same day as taking over the EU presidency, when the whole world was watching.

    From day one, the prime minister said that Hungary is part of the EU, and it will live by EU standards and laws. Consequently, he and his ministers repeatedly stated that the law can be amended if it does in fact contradict EU standards and laws. Of course he defends the law, his government made it. Did you expect him to come out and say, oh gush, this is really a bad law, but we passed it anyway? The law was sent to the EU immediately, and the Hungarian government was ready to play by the EU rules: wait for the evaluation and react accordingly. And what did the Western media and left wing parties in the EU do? They were not interested in the democratic and proper legal process. Taking their marching orders from the talking points provided by Hungarian opposition parties (the first English translation of the law came days later), they acted like a lynch mob! The Hungarian prime minister and his government were almost declared persona non grata at the EU, BEFORE Kroes and her Commission actually had a chance to have a look at the law! Why did not people wait for the verdict, and see whether the Hungarian government keeps its word and acts on the EU Commissions possible objections?

    How come you did not find this double standard a threat to democracy at the heart of the EU? You claim democratic deficit in Hungary, how come you did not raise your voice against such undemocratic, lynch mob mentality?

    Now, hearing the news that the Hungarian government actually is willingly and is speedily collaborates with the EU Commission, to save face, you still refer to weeks old comments by the prime minster in which he defends the law.

    You say that you were even handed in criticizing the previous government and this one. I looked at the links you provided. They are straightforward reports. There are no alarm bells sounding about democracy in Hungary or outside, there are no characterizations and comparisons to China, to Hitler and the Nazis, there is no talk about “Gyurcsanistan.” Is this even handed criticism?

    Also, in your response, you keep referring to the members of the media authority as appointees of the government. Could you please, just at least once, be objective and accurate and write that they were appointed by the parliament?

    Finally, please point me to the part of the media law, which says that the media authority hands out fines for “unbalanced” reporting.

    Thank you.

  16. Dear Pixi,

    “If you don’t like it, leave Hungary”, you say. That’s exactly what many foreign investors are planning to do, especially when people like you are in power. Perhaps you should also ask the European Union, and my country, the Netherlands, to end the billions of euros in FOREIGN subsidies to Hungary? And no longer to give any FOREIGN standby loans. And ask all FOREIGN-owned plants, supermarkets, creating thousands and thousands of jobs to close their doors and move their business to neighboring nations. Ask foreign musicians, doctors, writers, journalists, business people to leave. Anyone no-Hungarian really. After that, just give up your EU presidency, close your borders from any foreign influx, cars, electronic equipment to name a few. So Hungarians can all be together. Going back again to the ancient times of living from hunting of say a thousand years ago. Some may argue it’s not much progress. But at least you have you’r foreign free country. Keep just shouting to foreigners who criticize. Not because they hate Hungary, but they want this country to move forward. But that’s something the Pixi’s of Hungary don’t want to see. Sleep. And shout.

  17. As far as I could detemine, you web-site is actually working on an American server. Therefore it is subject of American law only.
    You may (and, I think, you should) send Szalai Annamaria to hell.

  18. To P. Antony-s remark:
    The know writer, dissident of the Kádár era, György Konrád has said about the media law: “the law reminds me very much of 1933 when the NSDAP came to power with an electoral majority under seemingly democratic conditions.”
    (e.g. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/26/world/europe/26hungary.html?_r=1)
    and the media law is only one element in the series of acts aimed at demounting the “rule of law” (jogállam, Rechtsstaat) taking place in Hungary.

  19. First of all,

    “end the billions of euros in FOREIGN subsidies to Hungary”
    What kind of subsidy? IMF-debit? Yes, because of the wrond decisions in the last 20-30 years.
    Look forward!
    All foreing company /people who is doing businnes in Hungary, doing it for PROFIT! not for charity.
    And they MUST ACCEPT the local law. Thats also right for you! If you have problem with these, you can doing businnes in Romania, Bulgaria, etc…

    “…FOREIGN-owned plants, supermarkets, creating thousands and thousands of jobs to…’

    …like Au***, Te*** etc, yes…. A cashier earns 250 Eur / month in Hungary. What is the situation in Germani for example? They earn 1000 Eur… Why? All things and stuffs in supermarkets are in THE SAME PRISE.

    What can do the Hun workers? Shuot up. They are intimidated.
    Thanky you…. but We don’t need this. Be correct! and stay here! Observe our laws, nothing more do not wanted by us.

  20. To Pixi: Your folk does not understand that the choice can only be made between having the “multi-s”, and the state of affairs they need, and North-Korea with its permanent hunger.

  21. Dear P. Anthony,

    You could also have compared the elections to choosing Austrian politician Haider who I mentioned in my list as well. Why immediately Hitler? I did not say Hungarians choose another Hitler. At least there is no evidence of that yet. I did made clear there have been several policies done by either democratically elected persons or groups that were criticized internationally. Hungary is no exception. And if it is holding the European Union presidency, that comes with responsibilities. Or, and some comments seem to suggest that, it wants to live as an island or different planet, removed from the international community.
    I did not say it will be difficult to speak with China or Iran with this media law. Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn warned that if the EU does not pressure Hungary to change the law, “it will be very difficult to talk to China or Iran about human rights.” I don’t know why you believe Western media receive “their marching orders” from the talking points provided by the Hungarian opposition. I never received any marching order. I am an independent journalist covering news.
    Why media didn’t wait? Well ask the public relations advisers of Prime Minister Viktor Orban. If he has any. Ofcourse introducing what critics regard as Europe’s most restrictive media law on the day Hungary takes over the European Union presidency doesn’t help if you want to avoid massive international coverage.
    You say there the Hungarian government “actually is willingly and is speedily collaborates with the EU Commission, to save face…” I fear Hungary will be about half through its EU presidency when the legislation will be changed in parliament. BosNewsLife made clear that the government is willing to change it. But Orban’s comments are still very actual. About the law itself. As pointed out it becomes clear that media have the obligation of balanced reporting and it includes several sentences such as fines for “violating human dignity” over which a government appointed media authority is going to decide.
    Commissioner Kroes has said she was worried about “the lack of limiting criteria” on the obligations forcing all media, including bloggers and internet forums, to be officially registered and to provide “balanced information.” The commission is also “continuing to look at the difficult issue of criteria for media authority independence.” The legislation is written in a way that there is serious concern that it will lead to self-censorship among Hungarian journalists. In general, I personally would never allow an authority to censor my stories, whatever happens, but I can always flee. Not everyone has that opportunity.
    There is no talk about Gyurcsanistan, your apparent reference to former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany. Perhaps because he resigned himself eventually, after having admitted to having lied day and night about the state of the economy. It’s something I have extensively covered as a journalist. This is for now my last reply to you as I am busy covering news stories. I give you the last word if you want and let the readers decide…

    Best regards,

    Stefan J. Bos, BosNewsLife

  22. Dear Elle J.

    Thank you for pointing out that the issue is basically about to much of a subsidy Heller and other left-leaning philosophers allegedly received under the previous administration and that this is now being investigated by the current center right government.
    Yet, that has nothing to do with the media law.
    The fact that I quote a writer on an issue does not mean that I necessarily agree with his or her alleged wrongdoing. But once again, I could have made this sentence also my own words. Especially for a column. Because critics indeed suggest that Orban is trying to become the chief of the tribe. And if I cover a certain event of a news paper does not mean that I agree or disagree with all their activities. And in the story on Nepszava for VOA for instance http://www.voanews.com/english/news/europe/Hungarian-President-Signs-Controversial-Media-Law-112693124.html I mentioned also the Media Council representative opinion. This story also mentions different opinions. http://www.voanews.com/english/news/Thousands-Demonstrate-Against-Hungarys-Media-Law-113673314.html

    Finally you say that the demonstration was “entirely peaceful”. You must have seen a different demonstration than I during that night of September 18-19 when cars were burned and the television building damaged. I have not seen many women and children involved in those riots/protests. Perhaps this link refreshes your memory? http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_pictures/5358690.stm

    No I don’t apologize for the previous Socialist-led government. Or for harsh police actions. And the stories, I send you several, make that clear.

    As for P. Anthony, this is for now my last reply to you due to my work schedule, not because I hide. But feel free to send another comment if you want. I give you the last word, so the readers can decide. I hope they will be able to do the same in Hungary…

    Best regards,

    Stefan J. Bos

  23. Dear Stefan Bos:
    I am not a journalist, I just read newspapers. I am a simple Hungarian citizen. So excuse my English. BUT:
    – it is really kind of you being ‘concerned’ about Hungary’s future – well, don’t be. We will sort it out, don’t worry. We had been through much more difficult times and problems, even without Europe helping us, on even more significant matters. This is not a significant t issues, I hope you agree. Let me know when you receive your first fine…
    – investors leaving Hugary (re Pixi) – excuse my ‘French’, but bulshit. They will not. They never had for the last 20 years. Their gains on tax benefits are far better than the cost of leaving. And they do calculate and look at numbers – not like journalists (pardon me). Also, Hungarians are very smart, clever and hard-working people, at a very – I repeat VERY – low cost (please do not start to compare to China – watch the quality first!). I have been working for multinationals for the last 15 years, so I have some feeling how it goes.
    – it IS an INSULT to me, the way you talk about my government, country and question the elections we have been through – and I am saying this having voted for a different party than the current government. You guys only like to praise democratic elections if the results of those are in your favour. If they are not, then you call Hitler.
    – I may agree with you that electing people that are your own branch into such a committee is not ‘elegant’. But do read and consider the underlying reasons by P. Anthony earlier. They are absolutely to the point.
    – ‘you want a foreigner free Hungary’ (re Pixi) – no, nobody said that. That is called misusing somebody’s else words. In a polite way. But what we do want is that foreigners take us seriously. We are not kids – even though we have to improve a lot on several things. But we do have our history and we do not need foreigners to tell us how to behave. We had been told earlier, and you see, that we did not like, either.
    – And, BTW there are much more critical issues here in Hungary than who sits in a committee that has never ever fined anybody. So I suggest you focus on those if you are concerned about Hungary.

  24. Dear Majk Portnoj,

    For the record: I did not say that the prime minister is another Hitler and I haven’t question the outcome of the elections either. However I do question policies. That’s what journalists are supposed to do. Whoever is in power. Don’t confuse genuine criticism with “questioning the country”.

    I don’t know which party you voted for. It feels a bit like Jobbik feel to me, but I may be mistaken.

    Indeed investors look at numbers. And policies. That’s why credit agencies have downgraded Hungary to near junk status at the moment. And yes, investors do leave. Others are still stuck here. I did not misuse Pixi’s comments.

    Pixi’s remark is a comment foreigners here often when they disagree with something. Or even when they haven’t said anything. Thanks for you suggestions, but for the moment we are also focusing on what has Europe talking. The media law. That’s very significant because its a major news issue, perhaps because it has so much to do with freedom of expression and the related European Union rights reasons mentioned in previous comments. Whether you like that or not.

    Best regards,

    Stefan J. Bos, BosNewsLife

  25. Well Stefan, we are on very differen platforms here – but that is absolutely OK. So I would not want to waste the space to convince you because I probably would not be able to.
    To me people steeleing hundreds of millions from the taxes I pay – that is an issue. Chidren not having food – and you must know the exact numbers better than I do, and there are many of them – that is an issue. People lying in hospitals not being taken care of – that is an issue. The difficulites thousands of households are facing due to water – that is an issue.
    You guys crying about something that never happend – that to me is not an issue. This is a bubble you blow. Keep blowing.

  26. Dear Majk Portnoj,

    I agree with you that these are very important issues. That’s why it is so crucial to have a free press that is able to investigate the social troubles you mentioned. I said we would ALSO focus on the media law, ofcourse other stories are important as well.

    Best regards,

    Stefan J. Bos

  27. Dear Mr Bos,

    Let me just say that I find it strange that, when I refer you to the attack by riot police on a peacefully demonstrating crowd, you come back with the later events around the TV station, which, it is widely believed, was the work of provocateurs. (Funnily enough, there was no charge of the riot police against them.)

    But this is, as you have said, a thread about the media law. I am pleased to see that you have not been able to make a single specific, text-referring criticism of it. Here, by the way, is the English text, for your readers’ benefit: http://www.scribd.com/doc/46314550/46310168-Hungarian-Media-Law.

    On the importance of this issue, P. Anthony is quite right: it is immaterial. A charge against the Hungarian prime minister was led in the EU, on the pretext of it, by the thuggish Cohn-Bendit. He, of course, had nothing substantive to say about it, preferring boorish antics and crude interjections. The Hungarian government has always said that it is prepared to revise the media law if it is held that it is somehow in contravention of EU principles. As it turns out, nothing more than a few cosmetic changes are being required.

    In short, the media law should never have become the platform on which fantasies about dictatorships and supposed Hungarian xenophobia are floated. And indeed, only Cohn-Bendit-led anti-democratic thugs and the ex-patriot and domestic ideologues of the disgraced Hungarian ‘socialists’ have ever pushed this view of Hungary. The latter cannot forgive the Hungarian voting public for loosening their grip on power for the first time since 1945.

  28. To the remark of majk portnoj”
    The biggest issue that the new flat tax means higher tax for all poor and even those with average income but big tax reduction to the rich. That is extremely unmoral. There will be much more hungry children in Hungary.

  29. Dear Elle J.,

    I didn’t really want to comment, but just briefly correct a few facts. You said earlier the demonstration was “entirely peaceful” but my articles and the photo’s shows a different story. That does not mean there were no peaceful protesters. I also did not defend police actions.

    Thank you for attaching an English language translation of the law as it further proves
    my point. Besides my previous arguments I should have mentioned for instance about news coverage the requirement for balanced reporting Article 12 where it reads that “Subject to the nature of the programme the balanced nature of the communication shall be ensured within the given programme or in a series of programmes in the case of programmes appearing regularly.” Who is going to decide what is balanced? Exactly the government-backed media authority.

    And as we exactly stated in the news story, which was also confirmed personally to me by a Media Authority representative, the “violation (or infringement) of human dignity” whatever that means is another demand. Article 24 “(1) The commercial communication broadcasted in the media service (a) may not infringe upon human dignity…” In short media can face sanctions for coverage deemed unbalanced and immoral.

    Another issue is the extensive interference by the Authority in daily journalistic decisions. Take Article 12 (3)” Save for the explanation of the news, employees of the media service provider appearing regularly in the programmes offering news and political information as presenters, newsmen or correspondents may not add any opinion or evaluativ explanation to
    the political news appearing in the programme aired by any media service provider.”

    Who is going to judge whether an ‘opinion’ was added etc.? The government appointed Media Council. It seems to me that analyse can sometimes be part of general news coverage, especially from correspondents.

    I am also somewhat concerned about the extensive powers authorities receive in cases of an emergency mentioned elsewhere in the law, but that’s another discussion. Thanks again.

    Best regards,

    Stefan J. Bos

  30. Addendum: If you have also a firm (company) registered in Hungary, then it will be reasonable to move it to Viena or Bratislava as soon as only possible. You may not expect any fair treatment of authorities in Orbanistan any more.

  31. Dear Mr Bos,

    1. ‘Who is going to decide what is balanced?’

    Well, you know, this has been decided long ago. The term ‘balanced’ with regard to the media simply means ‘even-handed’, that is, ‘does not favour some information or suppress other information’. You will find the term ‘balanced reporting’ in any and every EU member states’ media law. ‘Subject to the nature of the programme’ is an important text in this provision of the statute. I.e., not all programs are required to be balanced. For instance, a satiric program obviously cannot be, by nature. A news program, however, must be ‘balanced’: it has to strive to report all salient aspects of an event, and not only those that serve the reporter’s political, personal, etc. purpose.

    2. ‘the government-backed media authority’

    There is no such authority in Hungary. Here, the media authority is an independent statutory authority, subject to challenge only by the courts.

    3. ‘the “violation (or infringement) of human dignity” whatever that means’

    I think you, like everyone else, knows what ‘human dignity’ means. It names the right of people not to be demeaned. So you cannot call a person a spag or a nigger or a yid or a kraut, or a goy, etc., nor attribute any other demeaning-of-human-dignity epithet to a person. This too, is a universal of media law in the EU (and of course elsewhere in the civilised world).

    4. ‘Save for the explanation of the news, employees of the media service provider appearing regularly in the programmes offering news and political information as presenters, newsmen or correspondents may not add any opinion or evaluativ explanation to the political news appearing in the programme aired by any media service provider.’

    Again, this is simple: the newsreader may not treat listeners to his personal views; his job is to transmit the news as the media service provider sets it out. In other words, a newsreader cannot also be a commentator. I think you will agree that there is no news service in the civilised world that tolerates the intrusion of the newsreaders’ opinions into the account he is instructed to give of events, etc.

    5. ‘Who is going to judge whether an ‘opinion’ was added etc.?’

    Clearly, the members of the public will make this judgment, and file a complaint with the Media Council if they think opinion is regularly added in a context where it is not appropriate. The Media Council will examine the complaint and decide whether the complainant has just cause. The Media Council’s decision can be challenged in court by the complainant or by the entity against which the complaint was lodged. Again, this is the case everywhere in the EU (and beyond).

    6. ‘It seems to me that analyse can sometimes be part of general news coverage, especially from correspondents’.

    You yourself quoted the salient qualification: ‘Save for the explanation of the news …’. The correspondent is altogether another matter. That level of journalist is not the reader of information provided by a news service. The injunction against the airing of personal opinion, as the relevant provision makes crystal clear, imposes only on newsreaders.

    So: I trust you will now agree that the Hungarian media law is just a very ordinary sort of media law?

  32. I composed and posted a painstaking response to the text Mr Bos addressed to me on February 11th, 2011 at 3:59 pm. Why has it been deleted?

  33. Dear Elle J.

    No your comments have and had not been deleted. The points you make only underscore that this is NOT an ordinary media law. And NO you will not find this in every EU country. In the Netherlands, for instance, we have the Journalism Council, made up by the industry itself, NOT appointed by the government, where people can complain. Secondly yes the Media Council is entirely staffed by people appointed by Viktor Orban’s Fidesz Party. No opposition parties are represented in it.

    Thirdly: No I don’t know what “human dignity” means in cases of journalism. Looking to some of the reactions here, I would be a perfect candidate for fines from the Media Council. The problem is with yout number 4 is that the media authority will now decide whether an opinion was given. And yes, in civilized countries a news reader can give comments also.

    At least in free countries. From a professional point of view I agree with you that this should not be done in a general news piece, but that does not mean that a news reader can not be critical towards authorities. And it’s certainly NOT up to a parliament and government to decide how he or she should read the news.

    On point 5 I would suggest perhaps to establish an independent Journalism Council as we have in the Netherlands, not a media authority with party officials. In number six you speak of an “injuction” against the airing of personal opinion imposes on newsreaders by a government backed media authority. It sounds to me like a government statement from the old days when Hungary was a Communist nation.

    However I trust that with some help from the EU the government will change the law. It’s a petty that this is half-way through Hungary’s EU presidency, taking away public attention from what could have been a very succesful period for this country…

    Best regards,

    Stefan J. Bos

  34. Kedves Bos Úr!

    Az Ön története több ponton is sántít, mondhatnám, valószínűleg hazudik.

    Az első. Bocsásson meg, hogy csak így magyarul, de bizonyára nem okoz gondot a megértés, ha a hatóság “felszólítását” is megértette.

    Nos, az állítólagos felszólítás.
    Kétlem, hogy a hatóságnak lenne kapacitása és apparátusa arra, hogy magától, önszorgalomból felszólítson hírportálokat arra, hogy bejelentkezzenek a nyilvántartásába. Más honlapokat vajon miért nem szólít fel a hatóság? Miért pont ez a honlap szúrja a szemét a több száz ezer oldal közül?

    Másrészt a médiatörvényben nincs olyan passzus mely felhatalmazná a hatóságot hogy bárkit felszólítson a nyilvántartásba való bejelentkezésre.

    Azaz nem kell aggódnia, hiszen az aktus, ha egyáltalán, megtörtént semmis.

    De vajon megtörtént-e? Válaszát kíváncsian várom.
    Mutassa meg a felszólítást! Ha nem mutatja meg, sajnos továbbra is azt kell gondolnom, hogy Ön hazudik.

    A

  35. Dear Atti,

    You write Hungarian, yet reacts on a story written in English. You speak about lies and no np prove that we received an order to register. Yes we have that prove, and it was clearly mentioned in the news story. We ofcourse keep those e-mails in our archives.
    Just in case. As I have said today in Nepszabadsag and a Polish news paper, we do not plan to register, as we do not want any government to control what we can write.

    Best regards,

    Stefan J. Bos

  36. atti,

    ‘Az Ön története több ponton is sántít, mondhatnám, valószínűleg hazudik.’

    Több, sokkal több, mint valószínűleg. Ennek a személynek nincs eggy õszinte szava. Erõssen kilátszik a lóláb. Tudjuk kinek igyekszik imponálni. És eszt még álcázni sem képes. Pont ezért nem várhat támogatást azoktol akkik felé huzódna . Majdem sajnálom.

    Dear Mr Bos,

    ‘a media authority with party officials’. There is no such body in Hungary. Come on. I have already told you that the Hungarian Media Council is an independent statutory body. This is an incontrovertible, checkable fact. Have you heard of honesty in discourse?

    Elle J

  37. Dear Eszter,

    You know me well…:-) The first time I was in Hungary was actually in 1984, and I often traveled to this beautiful nation ever since. Since 1989, I am permanently based here as a foreign correspondent covering Central and Eastern Europe as well as other areas of the world for national and international media, and BosNewsLife News Agency. From Iraq till India and beyond.
    About your other questions. True Christianity to me has nothing to do with an ideology, religion, politics or even a church. It’s about real freedom, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ in whom we have eternal life, real peace and understanding . The Bible says: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16, King James Version). Read “world” not “earth.” He came to save humans, the world.
    There was a time that I believed in ‘Christian politics’, perhaps even in the ‘Christian’ ideology of people within Fidesz, Christian Democrats, and even the Socialists or Liberals to make the world a better place. But politics seem often at odds with the freedom I have in Christ. Politicians make laws, just as in the New Testament, to fight the sins of this world, putting us in chains, and making us feel guilty all the time when we do something wrong. But Galatians 3:13 (King James Version) says “13Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:”
    As reborn Christians we are no longer under the law or from this world. Our ‘politics’ is in the kingdom of heaven to which we already belong, even while on the outside we still look like humans. Just as Jesus Christ was still recognizable as a human after His resurrection from death for our sins (and fulfilled the law) before He went to heaven to prepare a place for all those who believe in Him. Galatians 2:20 (King James Version) says for instance: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
    Our ‘politics’ is in the kingdom of heaven. Hebrews 3:1 (King James Version) says we have a heavenly calling. “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus”. He has been a constant company in my life, both in good and bad days…
    As the Netherlands is concerned. The Press Council as it is officially called in English is established and will be maintained by a foundation named Stichting Raad voor de Journalistiek. In the Foundation all important media organisations participate including the Netherlands Union of Journalists (Nederlandse Vereniging van Journalisten), the Netherlands Society of Chief-Editors (Nederlands Genootschap van Hoofdredacteuren), the Netherlands national news agency (Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau), several co-ordinating organisations of printed press, (co-ordinating) organisations of public and commercial broadcasting. The board of the Foundation appoints the members, chairmen and secretaries of the Press Council. The Press Council consists of four (vice) chairmen, thirteen member-journalists and thirteen members-not-journalists, according to its website. The chairmen and members all do theirs work in their spare time and beside their normal jobs. The chairman and his substitutes are members of the judiciary. The member-journalists have various jobs in journalism such as editor, editor-in-chief or freelance journalist. The non-journalist members have different positions in society. The secretary and acting secretary must be a lawyer.
    There are also other authorities in the Netherlands dealing with media, but in general press freedom is protected by the Constitution and there is a culture that first the industry tries to regulate itself. That does not mean there are no tensions. Dutch police have even briefly imprisoned journalists for not revealing sources, something that was also condemned internationally. Yet Hungary’s current media law means that authorities are going to tell what even a newsreader can do and what not.
    In my view that should be decided by journalists.

    Best wishes,

    Stefan
    Stefan J. Bos, BosNewsLife

  38. Dear Ella J.,

    You claimed in Hungarian that I am “most likely” more than that, in reaction to Atti’s argument that I am lying. You also said that you know on which side I am. Which side? Under the media law you so much like, I could ofcourse now run to the media authority to complain. Don’t worry, I believe strongly in freedom of expresson. The Media Council is staffed with pro-government people: which party is ruling the country? Exactly Fidesz. I therefore said party officials. “Have you heard of honesty in discourse?” It seems to be a question you yourself should ponder first. I am an independent journalist, a concept you clearly do not understand. Best regards, Stefan J. Bos

  39. to the remark of ‘megfigyelo’ on flat tax:
    although I personally benefit from flat tax, I have to agree with what you say. Flat tax is not fair.
    I would have cut back corporate TB rates first, that would have really helped decreasing black economy. But who reads Mr. Matolcsy, knows that his economic growth model is partially driven by internal consumption. And they could not escape the promises.
    That is a discussion that makes real sense.

  40. Kedves Bos Úr!

    Az Ön története több ponton is sántít, mondhatnám, valószínűleg hazudik.

    Az első. Bocsásson meg, hogy csak így magyarul, de bizonyára nem okoz gondot a megértés, ha a hatóság “felszólítását” is megértette.

    Nos, az állítólagos felszólítás.
    Kétlem, hogy a hatóságnak lenne kapacitása és apparátusa arra, hogy magától, önszorgalomból felszólítson hírportálokat arra, hogy bejelentkezzenek a nyilvántartásába. Más honlapokat vajon miért nem szólít fel a hatóság? Miért pont ez a honlap szúrja a szemét a több száz ezer oldal közül?

    Másrészt a médiatörvényben nincs olyan passzus mely felhatalmazná a hatóságot hogy bárkit felszólítson a nyilvántartásba való bejelentkezésre.

    Azaz nem kell aggódnia, hiszen az aktus, ha egyáltalán, megtörtént, semmis.

    De vajon megtörtént-e? Válaszát kíváncsian várom. Mutassa meg a felszólítást! Ha nem mutatja meg, sajnos továbbra is azt kell gondolnom, hogy Ön hazudik.

    A

  41. Dear Mr Bos,

    ‘Under the media law you so much like, I could ofcourse now run to the media authority to complain.’

    Utter rubbish. And you know it. You do lie so freely! I wonder why … or is this a compulsion?

  42. Dear Elle J.

    I apologize. I indeed wrote that ‘Under the media law you so much like, I could ofcourse now run to the media authority to complain.’ Looking to the composition of the Media Council, staffed by pro-government people, that doesn’t make sense for critical journalists, including myself. Or in your words: “Utter rubbish. And you know it.” Well I should have known ofcourse. Sorry. It was just very busy here. You also wrote “You do lie so freely! I wonder why … or is this a compulsion?” I was not lying, but shall we say naive? It’s not a compulsion, thanks for asking. I just wanted to freely express myself, briefly thinking that in theory critical journalists, or any citizen, could go the Media Council. Thanks also, once again, for the English language attachment with one of your comments. So more readers can see for themselves why there is international concern about the legislation.

    Best regards,

    Stefan J. Bos

  43. Bos Úr

    Kérjük szépen a felszólítást!

    Ja és még egy hazugság – Ön azt írja, hogy az internetes sajtótermékek kiegyensúlyozatlatn tájékoztatás miatt pénzbírsággal büntethetők.

    Nem talált, kedves Boss úr, ilyen nincs a törvényben.

  44. Elle,
    it is clear that Bos does not have an objective view. I really appreciate your effort to list him all facts in order to prove him wrong – but beleive me, it is a waste of effort.
    Him having his view would be btw OK – the sad truth is meanwhile that he claims himself to be an independent reliable journalist and source of information. Well, reading his posts everybody can draw a conclusion on this. What he managed to achieve through this is that none of us in the future will click on his site to look for reliable, independent and fair news.

  45. Dear Majk Potrnoj,

    I have not seen facts that prove me wrong. Elle actually only confirmed why the international community has concerns about this law, clouding Hungary’s EU presidency. That you and others don’t like the truth to be revealed is another issue. Yes I am an independent journalist. It’s up to the readers to decide how reliable I am. Most likely you will not react, as you don’t click on this site anymore. So far we are receiving more and more traffic, not less.

    Best regards,

    Stefan J. Bos

  46. To majk portnoj’s remark at February 12th, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Matolkcsy is a maniac who does not take into account elementary sociological facts. If the tax on poor would be lowered, then the increase of the – still low – income would go to direct consumption, and mostly for consumption of home-made goods – e.g. they would eat a little more meat which is mainly a Hungarian product. If – as in the new law – the tax of the rich is lowered, then it will go to accumulation (may be faster cancelling the mortage debts) and on luxury consumption (new cars, touring exotic countries etc.) which will increase the import and the need in foreign currency, without boosting to the ecenomy of the country. Matolcsy’s scheme would work in a basically self-sufficient country but not in an extremely open economy, like that of Hungary.

  47. To Stefan Bos:
    You are living in this country only a decade or so, but have already proved an excellent patriot of it — as well as of what we consider Europe. I may say this although we would probably not agree on most things: you are involved in Christain topics perhaps because you are a believer, while I am not. But unfortunately, in Hungary there is a number of stupid pretorians of any wannabe dictator, who are helping to transform the country from a republic to a regretable Orbanistan.

  48. Dear Megfigyelo,

    Thank you very much for your encouraging comment. You used in one of your very informative comments a Dutch word and was wondering whether you have some connection with the Netherlands? I am happy to have you as an observer here…Yes I am a believer and would wish for you that same blessings in your life, regardless of whether we agree or disagree on issues. You are among the very few people who understand that a genuine debate can help a country move forward. Indeed I am among many people who love Hungary for many reasons, and it’s painful to see that feeling being hijacked by people who confuse healthy, peaceful patriotism with extreme nationalism and hatred.

  49. Kedves Boss Úr

    Igen lehet szankcionálni a médiumokat a kiegyensúlyozatlan tájékoztatásért, de csak a tévéket és a rádiókat. A szabály a 1996-os médiatörvényből került át az újba, azaz 15 éve érvényben van. Nem tűnt fel eddig???

    Az új médiatörvény szerint kiegyensúlyozatlan tájékoztatásért sajtótermék nem szankcionálható, internetes sajtótermék sem, azaz az Ön honlapja sem.

    Újra kérdem, hol van a felszólítás? Mikor láthatjuk?

  50. majk portnoj,

    ‘I really appreciate your effort to list him all facts in order to prove him wrong – but believe me, it is a waste of effort.’

    I do believe you. He twists, writhes, misrepresents what is said to him, then adds lies for chasers. Take for instance pupi’s pointing out to him that the media law imposes no fines for unbalanced writing on blogs. He ‘refutes’ this with the evasion: ‘Yes media can receive fines’. He, who has found a (non-existent) provision in the law to the effect that blogs can be fined, has the cheek to advise pupi to read the law again, thereby lying that he knows to be in it that which she rightly says is not! Of course, he ignores atti’s and pupi’s request for a sighting of the order to register that he claims to have received from the Media Council.

    Some ‘christian’, he. I’d say postcommunist of the worst and most shameless kind.

  51. Dear Stefan, as a great admirer of your journalist talent, would like to ask you:
    -as a Christian are there /and if, what /any ideological differences between you and FIDESZ?
    -how the media ruled or controlled in Holland? Who nominates the leadership of the Dutch
    Journalism Council?
    -as far as i know you are here in Hungary from 85 not 89,aren’t you?:)

  52. Dear Eszter,

    You seem to know me well…:-). I first visited Hungary in 1984 and travelled often to that beautiful nation, even writing reports as a young journalist at the time. Since 1989 I became a permanent foreign correspondent covering Central and Eastern Europe as well as other hotspots, including Iraq, India, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Jordan, Israel and other places.
    About your questions. I don’t think true Christianity has anything to do with ideology, politics, religion, or even a church. It’s about real freedom and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The Bible says in John 3:16 (King James Version) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Read “world” not earth; He came to save humans.

    There was a time that I believed in Christian politics as presented by perhaps some politicians of Fidesz, Christian Democrats or even the Socialists or Liberals. Since I found Christ, I have real freedom. That seems in conflict with certain politicians, who want to impose more laws on us to fight the ills and sins of this world, just as in the Bible’s Old Testament, keeping us in chains. But Galatians 3:13 (King James Version) says: “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree…” So I don’t have to feel guilty any longer when I do something wrong. That’s not to say we can do as much crimes as we want, but because He transformed us, we will change as well.

    What’s more, I am already part of the, now still invisible, Kingom of Heaven, where there is true joy, love and peace. It’s just like Jesus Christ, who after his resurrection from death for our sins (fulfilling the law, giving us freedom) appeared before leaving to heaven to prepare a place for all those who believe in Him. I could say as Galatians 2:20 (King James Version)”I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

    My politics is in heaven. Just as Hebrews 3:1 (King James Version) says: “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus.” I don’t say Christians should’t be in politics, just as there should be Christians in journalism, among lawyers, taxi drivers, waiters, bakers, doctors, or carpenters, just as Jesus was…

    Now about the Netherlands. The Netherlands Press Council as it is officially called, is established and maintained by a foundation named Stichting Raad voor de Journalistiek. In the Foundation all important media organisations participate, including the Netherlands Union of Journalists (Nederlandse Vereniging van Journalisten), Netherlands Society of Chief-Editors (Nederlands Genootschap van Hoofdredacteuren), Netherlands national news agency (Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau), several co-ordinating organizations of printed press, (co-ordinating) organizations of public and commercial broadcasting.

    The board of the Foundation appoints the members, chairmen and secretaries of the Press Council. The Press Council consists of four (vice) chairmen, thirteen member-journalists and thirteen members-not-journalists, according to its website. The chairmen and members all do theirs work in their spare time and beside their normal jobs. The chairman and his substitutes are members of the judiciary. The member-journalists have various jobs in journalism such as editor, editor-in-chief or freelance journalist. The non-journalist members have different positions in society. The secretary and acting secretary must be a lawyer.

    There are also other authorities in Netherlands dealing with media, but in general there is a culture that the industry itself is regulating journalism. Freedom of press and expression is basically part of the DNA (and Constitution) of the Netherlands.

    That does not mean things don’t go wrong. In fact, police have detained journalists briefly when they refused to reveal sources during an investigation. But in general authorities are not saying what even a news reader should and shouldn’t do. That worries critics about Hungary’s media law. Let the press regulate itself, I would suggest.

    Best regards,

    Stefan
    Stefan J. Bos

  53. Dear Stefan,
    Thanks for your kind words.
    Not, I have no connections with the Netherlands. Probably you have been mislead by the word Rechtsstaat – I had used it as a German word, but it appears to have the same form and meaning in Dutch. (I tought that the Hungarian and German words are more unequivocal – or if you want, sound more professional – than the English “rule of law”.)
    Yes, you are right, we have again the case of hatred in the country, for which the poet wrote, “Fortélyos félelem igazgat minket” (ca. “we are directed by the tricky fear”).

  54. Dear Elle J., Pupi and Atti,

    I am slightly tired of hearing the word “lies” all the time. As so far I have point for point made clear why the law has been criticized internationally and helped to reveal the truth. You may call that “postcommunist of the worst and most shameless kind,””or add any other hateful sentence. I just calmly call it seeking the truth. I encourage Puti and Atti to once again read the law, perhaps in their own Hungarian language. About the fines, they can read for instance Article 187 which includes online media as already mentioned in the news story. To help you a bit, I publish the article below. In a separate comment I will publish the e-mail we received from the person mentioned in the news story. After that I rest my case. You can ofcourse continue shouting as much as you want here, as I don’t think I will ever convince you. I can only hope and pray that Hungary will find the “right” direction within Europe and the world…
    Article 187
    (1) In case of repeated infringement, the Media Council and the Office shall have
    the right to impose a fine on the senior officer of the infringing entity in an amount not
    exceeding HUF 2,000,000, in line with the gravity, nature of the infringement and the
    circumstances of the particular case.
    (2) The Media Council and the Office shall impose the legal consequence —
    depending on the nature of the infringement — taking into account the gravity of the
    infringement, whether it was committed on one or more occasions or on an ad-hoc or
    continuous basis, its duration, the pecuniary benefits earned as a result of the
    infringement, the damage to interests caused by the infringement, the number of persons
    aggrieved or jeopardized by the damage to interests, the damage caused by the
    infringement and the impact of the infringement on the market and other considerations
    that may be taken into account in the particular case.
    (3) The Media Council and the Office — with due heed to Paragraph (7) — shall
    have the right to impose the following legal consequences:
    a) it may exclude the infringer from the opportunity to participate in the tenders
    put out by the Fund for a definite period of time;
    b) it may impose a fine on the infringer in line with the following limits:163
    ba) in case of infringement by a JBE media service provider and the media
    service provider under the regulations on the limitation of media market concentration,
    the fine shall be of an amount not exceeding HUF 200,000,000;
    bb) in case of infringement by a media service provider falling beyond the
    scope of item (ba), the fine shall be of an amount not exceeding HUF 50,000,000;
    bc) in case of a newspaper of nationwide distribution, the fine shall be of
    an amount not exceeding HUF 25,000,000;
    bd) in case of a weekly periodical of nationwide distribution, the fine shall
    be of an amount not exceeding HUF 10,000,000;
    be) in case of other newspaper or weekly newspaper or periodical, the fine
    shall be of an amount not exceeding HUF 5,000,000;
    bf) in case of an online media product, the fine shall be of an amount not
    exceeding HUF 25,000,000;
    bg) in case of a broadcaster, the fine shall be an amount not exceeding
    HUF 5,000,000;
    bh) in case of an intermediary service provider, the fine shall be of an
    amount not exceeding HUF 3,000,000;
    c) the infringer may be obliged to publish a notice or the resolution on the
    opening page of its website, in a media product or a designated programme in the manner
    and for the period of time specified in the resolution;
    d) it may suspend the exercise of the media service provision right for a specific
    period of time;
    da) the period of suspension may last from fifteen minutes up to twenty
    four hours;
    db) the period of suspension in case of grave infringement may last from
    one hour up to forty eight hours;
    dc) the period of suspension in case of repeated and grave infringement
    may last from three hours up to one week;
    e) it may delete the media service from the registry as defined in Article 41 (4) in
    which the infringement was committed and may terminate the public contract on the
    media service provision right with immediate effect on repeated grave infringement by
    the infringer. The media service deleted from the registry may not be made accessible for
    the public once it was deleted.
    (4) For the purposes of Paragraphs (1)-(3), the infringement shall be deemed
    committed on several occasions when the infringer committed the unlawful conduct as
    established in the authority decision on the same legal basis and in breach of the same
    provisions of legislation, in the same subject.
    (5) The legal consequences defined under Paragraph (3) may also be imposed
    jointly.164
    (6) Media service provider of a linear media services may be subjected to the
    legal consequences defined under Paragraph (3) (a)-(e), while providers of on-demand or
    ancillary media service to the legal consequences defined under Paragraph (3) (a)-(d) and
    publishers of media products to the legal consequences defined under Paragraph (3) (b)-
    (c).
    (7) The powers to apply legal consequence defined under Paragraph (3) (e) shall
    be with the Media Council.
    (8) The Media Council shall have the right to apply the liquidated damages
    defined in the contract and other legal consequences on media service providers with
    which administrative agreement is concluded only by way of an administrative
    procedure.

  55. Dear Elle J., Pupi and Atti,

    Herewith the order we received to register:

    From dr. Boncz Ditta
    to bosnewslife@gmail.com
    cc Kádár Péter
    date Wed, Feb 9, 2011 at 3:10 PM
    subject FW: tájékoztatás – Hírügynökség Kft.

    Tisztelt Hírügynökség Kft.!

    Internetes portál üzemeltetésével kapcsolatos 2010. január 10-én érkeztetett megkeresésére válaszolva az alábbiakról tájékoztatom.

    A médiaszolgáltatásokról és a tömegkommunikációról szóló 2010. évi CLXXXV. törvény (Mttv.) 203. § 60. pontja alapján többek között az az internetes újság, illetve hírportál minősül sajtóterméknek (azaz bejelentés köteles) amelynek elsődleges célja szövegből, illetve képekből álló tartalmaknak a nyilvánossághoz való eljuttatása tájékoztatás, szórakoztatás vagy oktatás céljából, nyomtatott formátumban vagy valamely elektronikus hírközlő hálózaton keresztül, és amelyet gazdasági szolgáltatásként nyújtanak, valamint amelynek tartalmáért valamely természetes vagy jogi személy, illetve jogi személyiséggel nem rendelkező gazdasági társaság szerkesztői felelősséget visel.

    Amennyiben már működő honlapjuk az előbb leírt feltételeknek megfelel, úgy az Mttv. 208. § (4) bekezdése alapján legkésőbb 2011. június 30-ig be kell azt jelenteni a Nemzeti Média- és Hírközlési Hatóság Hivatalához az Mttv. 46. § (2) bekezdése szerinti adatokkal. Az Mttv. szövegét és az internetes és sajtótermékekre vonatkozó adatbejelentő-lap formanyomtatványát az NMHH honlapján érheti el (www.nmhh.hu).

    Budapest, 2011. február 8.

    Tisztelettel:

    dr. Boncz Ditta
    osztályvezető
    Nemzeti Média- és Hírközlési Hatóság Hivatala
    Pályáztatási és Jogi Osztály

  56. Jaj Mr. Boss!

    Látja, látja, hogy nem kell aggódnia.

    A tájékoztatásból kiderül hogy maga kereste meg először a hatóságot.
    Gondolom a nyilvántartásbavétel mikéntjéről érdeklődött.

    Érdeklődésére kapott egy korrekt hivatali tájékoztatást, ami korántsem felszólítás. Nem is lehet az, hiszen egy nem hivatalos emaliről van szó. És ahatóság nem szólíthat fel senkit semmire emailben.

    Ugyanazt a sablonszöveget kapta mint azok akik elolvassák a hatóság tájékoztatóját a honlapon: http://nmhh.hu/?id=hir&cid=13476

    Mr. Boss nyugalom. A maga helyében Dr. Boncz Dittának inkább megköszönném a korrekt tájékoztatást.

  57. Only to know: the authority NMHH indeed has a deparment of “Content Control” (“Tartalomfelügyeleti Főosztály” or something alike).

  58. I’m really happy to see that Hungarian printed newspapers and blogs yelling every day that there is no freedom of press in Hungary. And with that, they are demonstrating every day that this is a lie.

  59. Mr Bos,

    ‘About the fines, they can read for instance in Article 187 which includes online media as already mentioned in the news story.’

    Are you perhaps confusing ‘online media’ with ‘blogs’? Do keep in mind that all media have online outlets these days.

    In any case, Section 187 of the Hungarian Media Law outlines the conditions under which the Media Council can impose fines on infringing entities. So it is impossible for you to find in this section the ‘proof’ you pretend to tender to the effect that blog owners can be fined for unbalanced reportin. Your thinking that you can simply betrays that you are unable to understand this section of the Media Law. (And since you cannot understand even the purpose of this section, it becomes very obvious that you do not have the intellectual capacity to understand a statute.)

    Yet you feel free to patronizingly direct atti and pupi to read the law again. They, as they have amply demonstrated, do understand this law. You have demonstrated that you find it impossible to do so. No amount of trying to talk down to people can hide this. Indeed, your very time-worn trick is to talk down to people when you have no leg to stand on. You are not ‘seeking the truth’ at all; you are trying, very incompetently at that, to defend your untenable postcommie position on the Media Law against others’ efforts to educate you about its content.

    ABOUT THE MEDIA COUNCIL LETTER YOU POSTED:

    Note this part of it: ‘Amennyiben már működő honlapjuk az előbb leírt feltételeknek megfelel …’ (If your already-functioning web site meets the conditions outlined above, … then you should register it by 30 July.)

    But are you sure that your website meets the outlined conditions? That is, is your web page offering a COMMERCIAL (amelyet gazdasági szolgáltatásként nyújtanak) news or entertainment service? I do not think so. You are online as a blog, not as a commercial service. So you are not required to register, according to the letter you received from the Media Council.

    So no: You have not been ‘ordered to register’. You were simply advised of the category of online presences that are obliged by the law to register. I hope you will now alter the headline you gave this page of your blog. As that headline stands, it does, actually, lie.

  60. Dear Elle,

    Hmmm ‘advised’. It’s like a soldier putting a gun to your head and saying I advise you to follow me. Apparently BosNewsLife does meet those requirements. Sure, radio and television have blogs and so do bloggers, online journalists, online news agencies..On the fines etc. Well let’s just agree to disagree. I think I have now done enough on this issue. Let the readers decide. People can read also my previous comments. Finally: I don’t know why you always say we are deleting your comments. It’s not the case.

    Best regards,

    Stefan J. Bos

  61. Elle:
    “But are you sure that your website meets the outlined conditions? That is, is your web page offering a COMMERCIAL (amelyet gazdasági szolgáltatásként nyújtanak) news or entertainment service? I do not think so.”

    Ha-ha! But you are not entirely sure, are you? Even as a self-proclaimed expert on the media law and a restless defender of the govt’s actions. How could you be? This is some prime example on how imprecise this law is and how it is open for possible interpretations that are really worrying.

    In fact, everything will depend on the actual implementation of this law. But as another Fidesz person, Mr Sándor Fábry told Heti Válasz magazine (in a different context but it also applies to our topic): for your country to be considered a dictatorship, it is not necessary that ‘the black car’ effectively take you away, it is sufficient that ‘the black car’ have a legal possibility to do so. Sorry for my English.

  62. Mr Bos,

    ‘Hmmm ‘advised’. It’s like a soldier putting a gun to your head …’

    Good Lord! Is it possible that you still do not understand? ‘You were simply advised of something’ means that you were given information about something (which, as pupi say, appears to be information you sought). Do try to understand this also: BosNewsLife is a blog; it is not a commercial purveyor to the public of news and/or entertainment; it does not have to be registered; it does not fall into the category of media that does need to be registered. Nobody, let alone the Media Council, has told you that it does.

  63. Dear Elle and everyone,

    Just for the record: As I am sure you have noticed the e-mail from the MNHH said KELL which means “MUST” or “HAVE GOT TO” or “NEED” when it comes to register BosNewsLife. Sounds pretty much as an order to me. Perfectly in line with the headline. It did NOT say Lehet, which means “It is possible” or “may” register BosNewsLife. We are not a blog in the way you describe it, but an online news agency and part of a company.

    Best regards,

    Stefan J. Bos

  64. Dear Stefan Bos,

    First I thought that you are really interested in an honest conversation, and I was impressed that you actually took your time to answer the posted comments, including mine. However, I got disappointed. Allow me to point out only three points:

    You are still referring to the media council as a government appointed entity. I have repeatedly pointed out to you that this is simply not the case. The members of the media council are appointed by the parliament. This is not a matter of interpretation. This is a fact. It is a mystery to me what is so complicated about that you still do not understand it. (Please, do not refer here to the two-third majority of the governing coalition. That is not part of the law, and as such it is a circumstantial factor that I can assure you, will not come about for a very long time – if ever – in Hungary. If you cannot be exact in your language in your reporting, how can you be reliable in your interpretation?)

    I asked you before, to point me to the section of the law which you claim says that “unbalanced” reporting is subject to a fine, to be handed out by the media council. I am still waiting for that information.

    The email you received from the media council shows that you were not summoned by the media council, but you approached them, in hope that you will get a response controversial enough that you can use it as a “Breaking News” item. You also hoped that other media outlets will pick up on your story, and you will make headlines around the world about the immanent danger you are in, in this hellhole country called Hungary. However, the letter you received is not a “notice.” It is simply an answer to your inquiry, containing a repetition of the law.

    In other words, and this is the saddest part, you are not after the truth. You are suffering from martyr-complex. This of course shows that you are not in the business of news-reporting, but in the business of news-making.

    And here lies my last point. I don’t think that the new Hungarian media law is a perfect law. I cannot even say that I have some kind of a burning personal attraction to the current government. What I see, is that finally there is someone daring and trying to do something creative about a country that is, and has been for the past 6-7 years, in a dangerous down spiral, and to do that without punishing the poor and the needy. Because this government does not want to follow the marching orders dictated by the IMF and it is not willing to give in to the neocon capitalist establishment by punishing the weakest and the poorest in Hungarian society with austerity measures which would leave the reach and the powerful unscathed (interestingly most so-called socialists in Hungary fall into this category), this government is considered (also by you) rouge, populist, dictatorial and dangerous. This is the reason why people like you, come to or look at Hungary with a preconceived idea and interpret everything else, including the media law, accordingly.

    You seem to be very passionate about the freedom of the press. So am I. But, your freedom ends where my freedom begins (and vice versa). I will do everything to uphold the freedom of the press, but in return, you will have to uphold my right to know, as well. To be more exact, you also have to uphold my right to know the facts about issues of common national and international interest, and NOT WHAT YOU THINK I should know about those issues. You see, I am getting very tired with journalists who think they know what I should here or not hear. The few instances I pointed out above illustrate that you cannot be factual either about very simple things. You think that you have some God-given right to patronise me and tell me what you think I should know about the issues you report on.

    I said that I do not think that this media law is a perfect law. But I do think that it is a very interesting and creative law, because it introduces the concept of “right to know” and tries to protect this right! If you are a real journalist, you should be very sensitive to this as well, and not only jump up and down, if someone wants to hold you accountable for the job you do. In every other profession there is strict accountability, only journalists think that they are demigods. Please, don’t misunderstand me. I do think that good journalists are almost as important for society as doctors and nurses, and I do recognize the dangers and sacrifices they bring (as people in many other professions do). But that does not mean that they should put their professional freedom above my freedom to know! And, if you understood the new media law, you would understand that this is what is behind the “balanced” reporting. (I should not be the one explaining this to you. You are the journalist not me.) I think this is an interesting new concept in media law that is worth looking at.

    Therefore, I find it sad, once again, that you come to Hungary, and instead of trying to see and understand what is really happening, you arrive with stubborn prejudice, and you make it your agenda to prove that you are right and everyone else is wrong. You see, this is what is wrong with journalism.

  65. The Royal Academy of Art (RA) in Lonon is just preparing for the June opening of the exhibition “EYEWITNESS: HUNGARIAN PHOTOGRAPHY IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, BRASSAY, CAPA…..LORÁNT ”

    The Hungarian István Loránt edited Picture Post journal published on 26th November 1938, ran a picture story entitled Back to the Middle Ages. Photographs of Adolf Hitler, Joseph Goebbels, Herman Goering and Julius Steicher were contrasted with the faces of those scientists, writers and actors they were persecuting.
    I suggest: what about now publishing similarly contrasting photographs of Viktor Orbán, Zsolt Bayer, Krisztína Morvai, Peter Szíjjártó, Zsolt Semlyén, Peter Harrach, Loránt Hegedűs with the faces of those artists, philosophers, scientists such as András Schiff, Iván Fischer, Ágnes Heller, György Konrád, Péter Eszterházy and a few Hungarian Nobel prize winners like Imre Kertész….they are persecuting.

  66. Dear P. Anthony,

    Thanks for clicking again on the site after, shall we say, a brief boycott?

    The OSCE representative on freedom of the media, Dunja Mijatovic, said: “The points that are particularly problematic … in the media legislation in Hungary is the fact that the new media authority and media council are led exclusively by members supported by the governing party.” Who is currently in government? Exactly Fidesz.

    There are several ways of formulating this. I think my government-appointed Media Council, or Media Council staffed with party officials hit the mark. “That can in a way undermine one of the main policy commitments which is called media pluralism,” Mijatovic added.

    Tell me: how many shall we say representatives appointed by, for instance, the opposition Socialists or the Politics Can Be Different Party are in the Media Council?

    Critics also have said the law fits in with recent steps by the government to weaken the system of checks and balances in the country. The government has used its two-thirds majority in parliament to strip the Constitutional Court — the country’s top legal forum — of most of its powers to rule on tax and state budget issues; make several amendments to the Constitution to fit its lawmaking plans; and disband the Budget Council, an independent body set earlier up to monitor budget developments.

    Now the new media authority can issue fines for printed, electronic and online media if it determines that coverage is unbalanced, infringes upon human dignity, offends common morals, or fails to cover events of public interest. In other words for unbalanced and ‘immoral’ coverage. I have pointed that out in previous comments with paragraphs and quotes. Please look back to them. And yes I call it an order to register, based in part, on the published e-mail. You call it a notice…It has the same impact. And at least you even admit she is quoting from the media legislation.

    In your words this is a “creative”, “right to know” law. You seem to be very selective in what you want to know, looking the other way when a news report explains to you why there is concern about a law. But that’s your right in a free and democratic nation, let’s hope it will stay that way.

    Your concerns about the needy I share, about the IMF we can have a debate. It’s therefore crucial that media are not told by any authority how to do their work. It’s the same as if I am going to a heart specialist telling him how to operate, although I am no doctor.

    For the record I don’t have a martyr complex. Why you immediately think about a complex when I disagree with you? Same goes for my perceived agenda. I have been here for two decades, reporting on different governments and many years before the current media law was introduced. You claim you also know what I hoped to achieve. Apparently you have the ability to look inside people’s brains, not an area in which I am specialized. We just ran a news story on what is clearly a news development and in our view BREAKING NEWS.

    I realize that not everyone likes the truth to be revealed in clearly, to-the-point, news stories. Feel free therefore to continue your discussions with your fellow government supporters and others who want to join in.

    It’s my impression that you just want to keep me busy with replying to your comments. I have made my points. I rest my case. Let the readers decide.

    Best regards,

    Stefan J. Bos

  67. Re. P. Anthony / Elle J. et all

    Dear Stefan,

    You are wasting your time with these writers, they “believe”, no matter the facts.
    Enough to hear their leader’s New Speak :
    “we stabilized the forint” “we restored [democracy]” “we protected the pensions” “the media law is a European law”, “we offered [p.pension fund members] a choice”, etc. The lies and arrogance are stunning.

    You’re quite right re Animal Farm, I’ve got a list of 130+ statements and deeds of Mr. Orbán and cronies, where it clearly comes – he is a frustrated fascist, restricted by the peaceful times and the EU. No less. In Orbán’s words:

    „there is a real opportunity (to make sure) that not the dualistic [two party T.] power structure will dominate the Hungarian politics the next 15/20 years, the structure that generates constant value debates, with divisive, petty and superfluous social consequences. Instead, a big ruling party, a central political power is raising, capable of formulating the national issues, not in the course of constant debates, but rather by naturally representing these issues….. Put simply: we either try to build such a government system, where the possibility of the return of the dualistic power structure is minimal, where a large central force resolve the political issues, or we prepare for counter government and then the dualistic power structure will return.” (speech in Kötcse, 2009)

    So much for democracy under Orbán.

    P.S. I’ve been in Budapest for over 10 y. and speak good Hungarian.

  68. @ Tacitus,

    Just a few facts regarding presidents, prime ministers and premiers in power, staying and wanting to stay in power and fascism:

    Helmut Kohl (Germany) – 16 years
    Wilfred Laurie (Canada) – 15 years
    François Mitterrand (France) – 14 years
    Ruud Lubbers (The Netherlands) – 12 years
    Felipe González (Spain) – 14 years
    Jean Chretien (Canada) – won three consecutive elections and gave his party 13 years in power
    In Alberta (Canada), arguably the richest province in the country, there is a Tory government in place continuously since 1972 – that is, for 39 years.

    To my knowledge none of these characters handed willingly over the leadership to their opponents. In other words, they were planning to stay, or keep their party, longer in power, if they could.

    So, according to your twisted reasoning, all these people were fascists. You are a genius!

    The very existence of the Canadian Liberal Party is to build a strong centrist (relative to the existing political forces) government and keep their opponents out of power as long as they can. This is their stated reason for existence. What a bunch of fascists, really!

    To bad you have no clue what “fascist” means. You just like to use it to clobber people over the head who do not agree with you … Now, you see, this is what the fascists did: clobbered their opponents … into submission. Great company you keep!

    Do you have any clue how democracy works? Where do you people come from? Is there something in the water that does this to you, that prevents you from thinking clearly?

  69. “great minds think alike” = “nagy szellemek találkozása”:
    Orbán Viktor nem tiszteli a magyar alkotmányt. A Fidesz elnöke ezt a kijelentését azzal indokolta újságírók előtt nyilatkozva, hogy a magyar alaptörvény nem más, mint egy technokrata szabályhalmaz. Szerinte egy új alkotmánynak tartalmaznia kell a magyarságot, a nemzetet összetartó kitételeket.
    Szálasi Ferenc: „Ma sokat emlegetik az alkotmányt, pedig mi az alkotmány? Az alkotmány egy nemzet életében nem lehet cél, hanem csak mindig eszköz. Mihelyt az alkotmány nem felel meg a nemzet fejlődésének, természetesen nem ésszerű az ehhez való ragaszkodás. Nekünk az örökkévalóhoz kell ragaszkodnunk. Ha választanunk kell az alkotmány, törvény és jog, továbbá élet, nemzet és igazság között, én mindig és minden esetben csakis az utóbbiakat fogom választani, mert ezek örökké valók” – mondta Szálasi Ferenc 1942 őszén Dorogon.

    Someone ought to transate the Hungarian bit into English for international use – would Pixie or P. Anthony volunteer?

  70. Dear P. Anthony, could you please enlighten us of the common denominator of András Schiff, Iván Fischer, Ágnes Heller, György Konrád, Imre Kertész subjected to the hate nee persecution campaign of “your kind”.

    One of Orbáns close friends is the journalist Zsolt Bayer, who sports Fidesz party membership book number five. He insulted the British journalist Nick Cohen, the Green politician Daniel Cohn-Bendit and the world famous pianist András Schiff as “stinking excrement” – they had dared to point out deficits in democracy in the present system.

    It was not his first paroxysm. Last summer he attacked Magdalena Marsovszky, an associate of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, as “dung beetle”, because she had stated in an interview in the leftwing Budapest daily “Népszava” that “national rituals give her a rash.” Bayer concluded that the Academy is “degenerate” and subverted by Jews.
    The Fidesz administered city of Esztergom has paid 25 million HUF (81.300 GBP) for Bayer’s legal expenses and will do so in the future. And on Friday January 21st the Fidesz led county council of Nógrád will give Bayer the Madách prize.

    Orbán is invoking the myth of the Hungarian nation as eternal victim. He and his Fidesz-party are whipping up a hysterical nationalism and reward Zsolt Bayer, one of its most vitriolic and anti-Semitic perpetrators, with a prize named after one of Hungary’s greatest dramatists

  71. Dear Stefan Bos!

    I am thank you for your brave spirit.

    You know that words have power only when they have the truth. Do not let your words silenced by the power of those who fear it.

    Do it for yourself and for all of us. Even for those who do not understand what they risk to loose in this country now.

    I am a Hungarian who believes in your truth as you believe in god.

    Best Regards,

    Imre

  72. Dear Stefan Bos,

    “Brief boycott?” I mean, you really think that you are that good that I need to boycott your website? Now that is rather presumptuous, don’t you think?

    Here are the relevant points from the law regarding balanced communication what you could not find for me, despite my repeated requests:

    § 181.1 The Authority shall not have the right to institute proceedings in case of infringement of the obligation of balanced communication.

    Only a third party, allegedly was harmed by unbalanced communication, can request such proceedings. But even there:

    § 181.5 Should the Authority establish that the media service provider violated the obligation of balanced communication, the media service provider shall broadcast or publish the decision passed by the Authority or the notice defined in the decision without any comment thereon — as provided for in the decision of the Authority — in the manner and at the time specified by the Authority or shall provide an opportunity for the applicant to make his viewpoint known. In addition to the foregoing, no legal consequences as defined in Articles 186–187 may be applied against the breaching entity.

    § 186 and 187 deal with the possible penalties.

    The fact that you did not and could not point me to anywhere in the law that says that unbalanced communication is subject to fines handed out by the media authority suggest two things:

    – you never read the law (and hence you lied that you did), and only parroted your sources
    – you might have read the law but you did not understand it, yet you claimed you did and perhaps (giving you the benefit of doubt), unwittingly propagated and spread lies in your reporting.

    Your reference to Dunja Mijatovic only makes it worse. It shows that she, just like you, has never read or understood the law yet she, just like you, pontificating about justice and democracy in Hungary. (Perhaps, first she should do so, about the government(s) in her old country, where war criminals still cannot be found and everybody but the government seems to know where they are. But this is another story for another day.)

    I guess, all is summed up well in your wholehearted agreement with Tacitus. There is no further comment needed on that.

    As I said before, in the beginning I thought you might be interested in finding out the truth about things. I was obviously wrong. You are not engaging the issue to find out the truth, you are forcing what you divinely conceived of to be the truth. On this, we have very little in common. Ultimately, it was a waste of time to try to come to a better understanding with you (and believe me, you cannot be busier that I am, and your time is certainly not more expensive than mine).

    So, you can carry on with your misinforming of people, what can we do, you are a journalist, who as you demand, cannot be held accountable to any standard.

  73. @ tori

    Oh, the sleaze is creeping out of the woodwork. You see, this is what is wrong with Hungary today: your “kind.” The kind, at both end of the spectrum, who hates demeans, accuses, belittles, disrespects by running to their beloved stereotypes. I am sorry I gave you even this much of an answer …

  74. @P.Anthony and co.

    I’ll break my own rule not to engage with “religious” ones and answer you.

    1. What does the term in office has to do with fascism? ‘Ferencz Szálasi was in power for weeks, does it make him a democrat ?

    2. Pls don’t call Kohl, Mitterrand, Lubbers, González.. “these characters”, these politicians never dreamt of doing what Orbán did/does:
    • rigging the system so that “everything is fixed for the next 20 years” (Orbán and Mikola words),
    • changed their constitutions 7 times in 9 months and having 33% of the vote decided to write and vote a new one within 5 months without any consultation,
    • declared their political opponents „genetically inferior”,
    • regularly branded them „murders”, “traitors”, “enemies of the nation”, ”thieves” “criminals” tec. and threatening them with jail turns for their policies, nor

    3. “ …and keep their opponents out of power as long as they can. This is their stated reason for existence.” Where is this from ? I thought the parties are to represent constituencies and formulate and apply policies in accordance with their views.

    4.“Too bad you have no clue what “fascist” means”
    I very well do, check it out: Prof. Robert Paxton http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism#Definitions
    E.g. if you’re saying that someone, philosopher Agnes Heller in our case, is investigated by a McCarthy like character, we can’t refer to their professional work. Now this is pretty fascist. Shall we also burn the books or edit them out of the old photos ?

    5.“Do you have any clue how democracy works? Where do you people come from? Is there something in the water that does this to you, that prevents you from thinking clearly?”
    You want to get personal, OK. Me: two higher educations, some Oxford, four fluent languages + four, politicos in the family, once member of a conservative party, AND not a Hungarian, i.e. no complexes / chip on the shoulder.

    By By.

    But before I leave you – I decided to write as far I can, from Canada to Australia, so that everyone can decide how much of a fascist Orbán really is. Your ilk really p.. me off.

  75. Dear P. Anthony,

    I just didn’t see you anymore here, that’s why. Welcome back. Thank you for confirming that § 186 and 187 deal with the possible penalties. And also that the Authority (appointed by the government) will have the last say on whether “the media service provider violated the obligation of balanced communication…” as written for instance in § 181.5. With government policies supporters and nationalists waiting in the wings to attack critical journalism, or what they view as “the other side”, we can only wonder who will be that ‘third party’ and how objective this Media Council is…

    Best regards,

    Stefan J. Bos

  76. @ tacitus

    Is the vile hate also coming from your deeply embedded sense of democracy?

    Yes, and your last sentence: “But before I leave you – I decided to write as far I can, from Canada to Australia, so that everyone can decide how much of a fascist Orbán really is. Your ilk really p.. me off,” really has that ‘Oxford feel’ to it …

    p.s.: I am puzzled, what is wrong with saying: “these characters’? Webster’s has 17 meanings listed for it, none of them is negative. Now, maybe you have a special use for this word …
    Maybe should have gone to Cambridge instead of Oxford and take a bit of Wittgenstein … you know, that ‘language game’ and ‘meaning is use’ stuff.

  77. Dear All,

    P. Anthony and Elle J had tried to reason with Mr. Bos unsuccessfully as we have witnessed it here but in my opinion Mr Bos is not open to reason, as a matter of fact it seems that reason is Mr. Bos’ enemy. As a fundamentalist Christian, Mr Bos is convinced that he knows what is the right thought, speech and action for humanity and that all the answers to all of our problems could be found in HIS book so he has no need for such highfalutin’ ideal.
    For those few who still believe in reason, I do not know how this law is going to work out (have a feeling I am not alone) as it is pioneering in a field that is going through a colossal technological revolution. But it is as we speak (write) passing through the appropriate EU channels and the parties involved are open to discussion and to make sure that it conforms to the EU norm. It is my sincere hope that REASON plays an integral part of that discussion.
    As far BosNewsLife is concerned (and I am in agreement P. Anthony); presenting an email response from MNHH to ones own inquiry as an order (“It’s like a soldier putting a gun to your head”) makes BosNewsLife look like someone in dire need of having something to complain about. In other words manufacturing one’s own breaking news does not appear to be inline with the practices of a reputable news organization.
    I think that is what P. Anthony has called “the martyr-complex” and in the case of Mr. Bos it is not surprising.

  78. Dear LaKatLan,

    If with HIS you mean God, that’s fine. The Bible is God’s Word, not mine. We did not manufacture breaking news. We were just reporting that BosNewsLife will have to register. That has nothing to do with a martyr complex.

    We report for BosNewsLife on many people who suffer for their faith around the world. About their trials. And triumphs. The inconvenience of people attacking me because of sharing the truth trails in comparison with those risking, and sometimes even giving their lives, for Christ. They are real martyrs. It is true that I was named after the first martyr of the church, Stephanus. But that has really nothing to do with a “martyr’s complex”. By the way: do you know what a martyr’s complex is? Are you a psychologist?

    Best regards,

    Stefan J. Bos

  79. Re: Tacitus
    Can’t find the requesred links in English, only in German (and lots in Hungarian):
    http://diepresse.com/home/meinung/gastkommentar/627995/Der-geehrte-FaekalAntisemit :

    “Das ist nicht das erste Mal, dass er Fäkalsprache gegen Juden oder vermeintliche Juden verwendet. Im Sommer 2010 erklärte das Mitglied der Forschungsgruppe Extremismus und Demokratie der Ungarischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Magdalena Marsovszky, „von jeder Art von nationalen Ritualen Ausschlag“ zu bekommen. Bayer nahm dieses Interview zum Anlass, um zu fragen, ob die Akademie der Wissenschaften entartet, jüdisch unterwandert sei, und prangerte in „Magyar Hírlap“ sowie im ebenfalls Fidesz-nahen „Echo TV“ die Antisemitismusforscherin als „Mistkäfer“ an.

    Bei vertraulichen Gesprächen hört man von Prominenten, Fidesz könne sich nicht von Bayer distanzieren, denn viele Mitglieder würden ähnlich denken. Wahrscheinlich deswegen erhielt Zsolt Bayer am 21.Jänner aufgrund des Vorschlags von Fidesz-Politikern den nach dem ungarischen Dramatiker benannten Madáchpreis des Komitats Nógrád. Gleichzeitig wurde bekannt, dass die von Fidesz geführte Stadt Esztergom die bisher 92.500 Euro (25 Millionen Forint) kostenden Anwaltskosten in Privatverfahren von Bayer trägt.”

  80. Dear Mr. Bos,

    I say this without a hint of satisfaction or pleasure because I was hoping that after all you could reason but your words underlie my point. You feel that you do not have to have your opinion because it all has been written down for you already. You don not have form your own outlook about things and deduct your own reasoning because many generations ago some one has written a book that you find holy. Let me remind you there many books that other people hold to such a high esteem and these people also think that they are immune to reason.
    But to stay on point, you were not just reporting that BNL has to register; you have reported that BNL was ordered to register and this (judging from the evidence you’ve brought forward) is not true. I believe that stating this charge repeatedly contradicts the 9th commandment but I leave it up to you to contemplate that.
    By the way I am not a psychologist but do own a very comfortable couch if you wanted to talk.

    Yours truly.

  81. Dear LakatLan,

    “Has to” or “has been ordered” means clearly the same: in both cases there is no other option than to register, according to the media law. The news article clearly states why and yes I have shown that with clear evidences in prevous comments. I am not immune to reason as in Christ I am free. I am sure that I violated many commandments of the Old Testament Law you mentioned, but not in the case of the article. In general however I am very happy that I don’t have a religion and therefore don’t have to follow all this rituals and the Old Testament Law.
    It’s perhaps why I may have a healthy suspicion towards authorities, especially as a journalist. Galatians 3:13 (King James Version) says it well: “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree…”
    It’s nice you own a comfortable couch. Just relax and let the comments sink in.

    Best regards,

    Stefan J. Bos

  82. My defeatist friend’s Motto:
    “Hülyével sohase vitatkozz, mert lesüllyeszt a saját szintjére, és legyőz a rutinjával” = don’t argue with a fool, because he drags you down to his level and wins as he is an old hand at this.

    I followed this advise on a number of occassions, by saying: “End of argument, you convinced me…”

    However: Paris Match is a well known populist paper of the right, yet even them are critical of Orbán, trying to raise hope that he may change.
    http://www.parismatch.com/Actu-Match/Monde/Actu/Viktor-Orban-L-homme-qui-fait-Peur-a-l-Europe-248661/

    It’s as naïve (or downright deliberately misleading) to expect, or suggest that Orbán may yet to change sides again – he changed once from liberal into fascist – as would have been realistic of hoping that Hitler will change his mind back to be a Catholic or for Stalin to change back to a believer Orthodox Seminarist. HOPELESS. Once a dictator tasted absolute power…….

  83. @ tori

    Köszönöm a német linket. Világos.
    Feltételezem, hogy magyarul több van, megkérném ezeket. I can send you in return the list I mentioned.
    I am examining the premises that Orbán/Fidesz is the breeder and sponsor of the “extreme” right – Jobbik. Orbán just leaves the most dirty part to them, Bayer, Bencsik and co.

  84. Dear Mr. Bos,

    While sitting on my couch and letting the comments sink in I realized that I’ll have to disagree with you. The verb “has to” means -be compelled, be destined, be directed; refers to something that is starting to happen now but may reach it’s conclusion in the future. On the other hand “has been ordered” refers to an event (the order) that has already taken place. While I agree that the outcome in this case maybe the same (ie.: you have been advised by legal counsel that you met the criteria in the email) at the present time you have not been singled out by an order; you merely been advised to what the law states by MNHH. Therefore the headline of your article “BosNewsLife Ordered To “Register” With Hungary’s Media Authority” and the first paragraph are a falsification of the actual events taken and taking place.

    Regards

  85. Dear LaKatLan,

    I have to disagree with you. Oxford online dictionary for instance says about order for instance: “an authorative command or instruction” and “a verbal or written request (in our case by e-mail) for something to be made, supplied or served.” And in our case by June 30.
    In combination with that deadline, and knowing that this is the media law, that sounds very much like “has to” as well. But as I aid before the news article was ofcourse best formulated. The word ‘order’ is clearly a summary of what is happening. I could also choose your variation. Central and Eastern Europe’s first Christian news agency BosNewsLife has been compelled, which means “to force somebody to do something; to make something necessary.” We did not say that BosNewsLife has been singled out. But the story makes clear, and apparently media from Poland till Italy agree, that it is an interesting development that also foreign media based here are under this law. No the story is NOT a falsification. I am getting a bit tired of hearing all the time about alleged “lies” from people on this forum and “falsifications”. I think I have given now so much evidence, that I will no longer reply. Let the reader decide. Congratulations with your couch. Happy Valentin’s Day!

    Best regards,

    Stefan

  86. Köszönjük,hogy segítenek a diktatúra elleni fellépésben, nekünk magyaroknak..
    (Thank you, for the help hungarian people to fight against the dictatorship..)

  87. The Führer is still speaking. The Hungarian Parliament reduced to the role of the Berlin Sportpalast in 1933…. Even the nazi uniformed are present. Waiting for the final SiegHeil to bring the House down….

  88. Dear Mr. Bos,

    I urge you to choose compelled instead of ordered and offer a correction of the article. The first sentence should also make it clear that the prompt came as a reply to your initial inquiry.
    You might ask why am I so hung up on this? I would like to offer a short explanation here. It has been my experience that political and social discourse is very harsh in Hungary today. Political arguments often deteriorate into shouting matches and no respect is given to the views of others. It is to the point that an entire political movement (LMP) has sprung up to try to fix this unacceptable situation. The media law as is the centerpiece of the current controversy and as we are witnessing on this very site it brings out primal emotions in many people. I feel that you as a man of the pen and the originator of this whole thread when reporting on what had happened should take extra care in choosing your words so they reflect actual events as accurately. We do not need more rebel-rousing and more oil to the fire but we need everybody to come to the table and help to sort out our problems. In my opinion that is the Christian thing to do.

    Regards

  89. Dear LaKatLan,

    I agree with you that it it may be good for different parties to sit around the table. Perhaps they will agree to change or even cancel the law and let the press regulate itself for instance by setting up a press council as in Netherlands. Obviously I will not change a truthful written article because someone doesn’t like it. But as you can see I posted your comment.

    Best wishes,

    Stefan J. Bos

  90. Re: TACITUS the Google Links in my earlier message did not get through, because of their lengths. Whilst not wanting “to teach grandmother to suck eggs”: feed into Google to search the combination of the following key words: “Bayer Zsolt” MTA Marsovszky

    and watch the results…..

    and then: “Bayer Zsolt” Esztergom költségek

  91. @tori
    Since you mentioned the fürher here is a new piece.

    Commemorating the break out of Buda in 1945, Mr. Gábor Tamás Nagy, the Fidesz 1st District mayor in his speech praised the heroism of the Waffen SS/Hungarian troops : “Today we gathered to salute …Because salute is due to what is sacred .. to their self sacrifice and honor …. To their being true to the given word and to their loyalty…” (the Waffen SS motto was „Meine Treue heisst Ehre” – My loyalty is my honour). To dispel any doubts: the standard bearer seen is E.Galántay onetime Waffen SS member. http://galamus.hu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=52940%3Amarsovszky-magdolna&catid=80%3Ag-7&Itemid=117&limitstart=1 Once Austrian politician Jorg Heider caused a scandal saying that there were some honest men in the Waffen SS. In Hungary Fidesz have gone some way since.

  92. Just finished listening to Steely(?) Neelie in Strasbourg, on the Hungariam Media debate. The self- satisfied grins on the faces of Deutsch, Morvai etc. reminded me on Mladic’s grin in Sarajevo.

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