Fidesz

Zselyke Csaky

It can be a devastating experience for a truly extremist party to realize that the “enemy” is within their own ranks. This is what happened to Hungary’s Jobbik two months ago, when Csanád Szegedi, a leading figure in the party and a founding member of the vigilante group Magyar Gárda, discovered that he is Jewish. Although it could have been a rare opportunity for the party to dispel claims of anti-Semitism, it remained true to its convictions, and Szegedi was forced to resign from his various positions (the official reason being that he lied about his origins). Jobbik thus reaffirmed its unconcealed anti-Semitic nature, which differentiates it from other European populist parties.

Last week I joined a delegation of leading freedom of expression organizations in Hungary to assess the impact of much criticized media legislation that went into effect in January. Discussions with dozens of journalists, media officials, regulation authorities, and government representatives validated the serious concerns expressed by international press freedom experts since the law was passed last December.

 

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