„It would be just fair for Viktor Orbán to have a heart attack” – Austrian state media chief says

June 03. 2022. – 10:44 AM



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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is summoning Austria's ambassador to Budapest over a Facebook post by a senior Austrian state media executive that has already been deleted, Hungarian Press Agency, MTI reports.

The ambassador is being summoned because Karl Pachner, a managing director of Austrian Public Television and Radio (ORF), wrote in a Facebook post – which has since been deleted – that “it would be fair” for Viktor Orbán to have a heart attack".

"In view of this gross and deeply shocking statement," the Ministry will summon Austria's ambassador to Budapest on Friday morning, asking for an explanation for the scandalous statement by the head of Austrian state media, the statement read.

Pachner apologised after he deleted the post. He wrote that when he read that Orban was slowing down the adoption of the sixth EU sanctions package, he chose "unintentional and misunderstood wording", which he regretted and for which he apologised.

"Of course, I do not 'wish' Orban dead, despite the way some people interpreted my sarcastic text. In fact, I do not wish for anyone's death, which is why I am so unhappy about what is happening in Ukraine at the moment, and which has led me to this emotive, reprehensible and unintentional wording. I am very sorry that I posted this."

- he wrote.

According to the Standard,FPÖ is demanding Pachner's sacking. ORF distanced itself from the statement, saying it was the private opinion of an employee and had nothing to do with their editorial process.

Update: "If someone wishes for the death of another person, that is unacceptable, and it’s not enough just to say sorry, I didn't mean it", Tamás Menczer, Minister of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote on his Facebook page on Friday. And Zoltán Kovács, the state secretary for international communications, said "Mr Pachner's immediate resignation and departure from public life is a moral minimum". According to Tamás Menczer in his current post, it makes the situation worse when an influential journalist, a director of a public media outlet, wishes for the death of an elected leader, the Prime Minister of Hungary. "This is a terrible statement in itself, a slap in the face of the whole country". Menczer also called on the Austrian media authorities to "take action", saying they too must find what happened unaceptable.

The translation of this article was made possible by our cooperation with the Heinrich Böll Foundation.