Opposition paper, radio to shut down in Hungary after orban win

11 April, 2018, 08:08 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • GETTYVictor Orban is a bigger challenge to the future of the European Union than Brexit

In a speech last month, Orban had said he would take unspecified "moral, political and legal" measures against his opponents in the event of a Fidesz victory, prompting fears of a clampdown on opposition. Orban campaigned on a promise of a legislative package dubbed "stop Soros", in reference to the Hungarian-born U.S. financier, that was laced with numerous thinly-veiled references to Soros' Jewish heritage.

There is little doubt that Mr. Orban's victory presents an even stiffer test for the European Union, which will now have to deal with a vastly empowered Hungarian leader who has already challenged numerous bloc's core democratic principles. Instead, the strong mandate won by Fidesz in the national election seems to be evidence of the party's organisational powers.

The closure of Magyar Nemzet will be a milestone in the gradual disappearance of independent media in Hungary that western European Union leaders and worldwide rights groups say underlines the country's slide into authoritarianism.

Mr. Orban alleges that the opposition - collaborating with the United Nations, the European Union and wealthy philanthropist George Soros - wants to turn Hungary into an "immigrant country", flooding it with mostly Muslim migrants and threatening its security and Christian identity. "This has happened, so we feel authorized to pass the law".

It would force them to get government permits, their income received from overseas would be taxed and they could be banned from going nearer than five miles from Hungary's borders, where asylum-seekers file claims.

Orban also said "favored relations" would continue with Poland and the German region of Bavaria, whose politicians came to Hungary to support his re-election campaign.


Some 20 percent of Hungarian exports go to Germany, whose vehicle factories are among the country's biggest investors and employers.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's response contrasted sharply with that of Seehofer, who as Bavarian prime minister was her chief antagonist during the migration crisis of 2015-2016.

"Our association will continue its activities for as long as people in dire straits ask us for help", the group said. In the speeches the main emphasis was made on the cessation of immigration. "This applies to Germany, too, but I was elected not by the German people but by the Hungarians".

Orban's allies have already acquired other media outlets -reportedly at his request-, and state advertising has been channeled to government-friendly outlets, setting up an unfriendly environment for independent journalism and critic voices. "We would like to keep Hungary as Hungary", he said.

Hungarian voters' ability to make a fully informed choice in the country's election was impaired by xenophobic rhetoric and media bias reducing real political debate, OSCE monitors said Monday.

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