March 16th, 2017

Pro-government media intensifies attacks on opposition, but backlash looms

As Hungary’s pro-government media intensifies its attacks on the Momentum Movement and other members of the opposition, even making claims about family members of these groups, political analysts and media experts say constant repetition of such defamatory reports may become counter-productive, reports hvg.hu.

The governing Fidesz party is clearly wary of Momentum Movement after the group’s successful drive to gather signatures for a referendum on Budapest’s Olympics bid, as the media outlets under their influence have repeatedly made defamatory claims about its members in recent weeks. Origo.hu took these attacks to a new level with a highly speculative article (above left) about the former startup venture of leading Momentum member Miklós Hajnal, which made claims about the financial situation of his family, and even cited the Facebook likes of his parents to prove its point.

The once-independent portal has also sought to establish links between László Majtényi, the opposition’s candidate for President of Hungary, and Hungarian-American speculator George Soros, who is often used by Fidesz and the government as a bogeyman said to be behind all opposition activities. Origo tried to link this claim to the alleged “lack of transparency” of non-profit groups, but they succeeded in proving the opposite by citing the figures of a public benefit report on the funding received by the Eötvös Károly Institute – led by Majtényi – from Soros’s Open Society Foundations.

An analyst at Political Capital told hvg.hu that pro-government media assaults were taken to a new level being extended to the family members of their targets. However, as Róbert László said, Fidesz have been climbing these levels step by step for a long time, hardly recognizably for many. He added that Fidesz only understands force, and Momentum proved itself as a force to be reckoned with by their successful signature drive. The media under the governing party’s influence is keen to carry out assaults against them because they are under huge pressure to meet their masters’ expectations.

Media sociologist Ferenc Hammer says it is still impossible to predict the long-term effect of the intensified assaults. They can be effective in the long term as people easily remember the claims if they hear those often enough. On the other hand, the constant repetition of propaganda items may prove to counter-productive. The failed migrant quota referendum last October has already shown that the public may become non-responsive to excessive propaganda.

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  • Fidesz Whorbanistan is more and more becoming like Good Ol’ Communist Hungary…

    Even if the State-controlled media pre-1990 portrayed Hungary in rosy colours, most Hungarians knew how it really was and those who could/had the drive, left the country – as today.

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