Hungary is lucky because its patriotic government protects its patriotic media, Szijjártó says
November 10. 2023. – 11:37 AM
On a visit to Guatemala City on Thursday, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó shared a convoluted line of reasoning about whether NGOs can speak on behalf of a nation, the dominance of the international liberal mainstream and the balance between liberal and Christian-conservative media.
Szijjártó began by saying that the "international liberal mainstream" – he did not specify what this meant – was "trying to dominate world politics" through NGOs. He said that NGOs were "considered representatives of nations", which Szijjártó said was "madness, I mean nonsense", because the governments elected by the people are the ones who represent the nations.
"Nobody elected the NGOs, the NGOs have no legitimacy to speak on behalf of nations or represent countries," Szijjártó said.
The Hungarian Foreign Minister then turned to the subject of media, saying that the "liberal mainstream" also wants to dominate the media, but
Hungary is in a "fortunate position" because half of the media is "right-wing, conservative, patriotic, Christian democratic, and the other half is international liberal".
According to Szijjártó, the liberal mainstream sees this as a dictatorship because "they believe that media freedom only exists in a country if 99 per cent of the media are liberal".
"Patriotic and conservative governments like ours have to stand up to this," he concluded.
All this fits well with the law on the Sovereignty Protection Act recently announced by Fidesz group-leader Máté Kocsis, with which Fidesz intends to "make things harder for foreign-funded journalists, pseudo-NGOs and dollar-funded politicians".
Szijjártó already spoke about the Western European press lying when it questioned Hungary about press freedom two years ago. According to him, this is simply because "the Hungarian government's policies are succeeding in spite of going against the mainstream position, be it on migration, economic or family policy". As for the pro-government press, he said that "as far as freedom of the press is concerned, the right of the press to express a positive opinion about the government's decisions should not be questioned".
The Hungarian government and the balanced Hungarian media
After Fidesz' 2010 election victory, Viktor Orbán identified four economic sectors where he wanted to see Hungarian ownership "definitely exceed" 50 percent, which he considered of strategic importance for the national economy. In addition to the energy, banking and retail sectors, this included the media and related industries. In the media, this was achieved by February 2021, having started from 34 percent in 2010 and reaching 55 percent in 2021. However, as early as 2017, Orbán already spoke openly about his ambition to achieve an even greater majority. In this 2021 article we described the way Viktor Orbán gained more influence in Hungarian media than anyone else.
We also covered the Prime Minister's media war in this video (English subtitles available):
But the government has not been idle in the past two years either, and in 2023 they put in place a system which is keeping the friendly media on life support, while things are becoming increasingly difficult for the press critical of the government.
In a situation unprecedented in the region, in the Hungarian media market, the state is the biggest spender when it comes to advertising, and the distribution of the funds for advertising has completely divided the Hungarian press in two. There is now virtually no middle ground: publications are either entirely at the mercy of the state or have little or no access to state funding.
The Sovereignty Protection Act is likely to widen the gap even further, as such a measure would make it even more impossible for the independent media, which survives on grants, market revenues and reader subsidies, and is excluded from state resources to survive alongside the state-funded, abundantly financed pro-government press, which functions as a mouthpiece for the government.
We are defending Christianity, democracy and the model of the traditional family
According to MTI, when speaking in Guatemala, the Foreign Minister also said that conservative values, Christian traditions, national culture and the traditional family model of father, mother and child, the mother being female and the father male, are under great attack today. He also pointed out that the Hungarian constitution protects families, and that Hungarian law also protects children, safeguarding them from LGBT propaganda.
Szijjártó also mentioned that the Orbán government has been in power for 13 years, having won four consecutive elections with a two-thirds majority in parliament.
"In Europe they consider this a dictatorship. The European Parliament regularly adopts resolutions declaring that what is happening in Hungary is not democratic. Why? Because it is not the liberals who are governing".
"Our position is that democracy is democracy when it is based on the will of the people, while in Western Europe the concept of democracy is that it should be a liberal democracy. We say that is not correct. Democracy is democracy". Szijjártó stressed that Hungary does not wish to serve the international liberal mainstream, the press and the NGOs, because we should only strive to serve the people, since they are the ones who will determine the future of the country.
"I am glad that in Guatemala we have found a like-minded partner with whom we can cooperate on a global level to defend democracy, Christianity and the values we consider important," said Szijjártó.
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