Hungarian opposition caught in tsunami of lies
In recent weeks and months, Hungarian opposition parties and their media have spread countless falsehoods both at home and abroad. They have been circulating a range of fake news in connection with the extraordinary legal order introduced due to the pandemic, the law on penalising paedophile offenders or the government decree on facilitating the transparency of donations. Lacking other competencies, this is how the left-wing opposition is trying to achieve political gains domestically, a political scientist told V4NA.
The members of Hungary’s left-wing opposition made up of six parties are very much aware that they are unable to offer a viable alternative to the stable right-wing government led by Viktor Orban, so they don’t even try. Instead, they hope for political gains for themselves from demonising the Hungarian prime minister and from international smear campaigns waged against Hungary. In light of this context, every time the government takes measures, the opposition will spread untruths and lies in an attempt to distort the real content of those measures, Daniel Deak, the senior analyst of the Hungarian 21st Century Institute told V4NA.
The political scientist spoke about these issues after recent weeks saw several renewed attacks against Hungary and the measures the government had introduced.
Daniel Deak recalled that during the pandemic, Hungary’s opposition loudly claimed that introducing a special legal order was tantamount to dictatorship even though the practice of introducing a state of emergency was also a common practice elsewhere in Europe in that period. “Moreover, they even organised a debate day in the European Parliament instead of helping response efforts. At the time, existing opposition media outlets, allegedly independent, adopted and spread this narrative with all their might and articles published in international mainstream press also reflected this interpretation.
Hungary’s child protection law does not pertain to homosexual adults at all
“Attacks over the child protection law, which the leftist-liberal opposition has branded as homophobic, follow the same track. Contrary to widespread claims in the international press, the act does not collate paedophilia with homosexuality, it treats them separately and the legislation does not apply to homosexual adults. The law only aims to protect minors from sexual content, and ensures that parents have autonomy regarding sexual education of their children,” the political scientist pointed out to V4NA.
Speaking about attacks against Hungary over the paedophilia law, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said: “The current left-wing campaign against Hungary is further proof that today the left is the enemy of freedom, because instead of freedom of speech, they want political correctness as defined by them, and hegemony of opinion instead of a pluralism of ideas.” The Hungarian premier emphasized: “The new Hungarian law does not conflict with any lofty ideals or European laws. The new Hungarian act simply states clearly that only parents can decide on the sexual education of their children. Education in schools must not be in conflict with the will of parents; it must be supplementary at most, with its form and content clearly defined, and it must be subject to parental consent.”
Daniel Deak added, the law is relentless about cracking down on paedophile criminals, “in which there is complete social consensus, with Jobbik, one of the strongest members of the left-liberal seven-party opposition coalition, even voting the bill into law along side the governing party in Parliament. It is, therefore, not true that the law was only supported by the majority ruling party Fidesz in the parliamentary vote.”
The European Parliament on Wednesday held a debate on the law which PM Orban declared a “useful debate.” As he put it, “positions are completely visible, everything is clear and understandable.” “The European Parliament and the European Commission wish to allow LGBTQ activists and organizations into kindergartens and schools,” he said and pointed out that Hungary did not want to permit that.
The Hungarian government did not ban donations
Similarly, many pieces of fake news have appeared for political reasons regarding the question of donations.
According to a government decree last week, each organisation registered in Hungary must indicate the names of its financial supports. Immediately after publication of the text, a plethora of fake news articles appeared in left-liberal mainstream media outlets declaring that the government has forbidden anonymous donations.
Balazs Orban, State Secretary of Parliamentary and Strategic Affairs later stated that the government will clarify the details of the decree through amendments. For instance, anonymous donations under 500 thousand forints (1400 euros) will continue to be permitted under the same conditions as previously, while accepting offerings over that amount will be subject to greater transparency under the new decree.
Political analyst Daniel Deak told V4NA
by disseminating fake news and lies regarding the regulation and alarming civil organisations, the left-wing parties and media are banking on reaping political leverage yet again.
In truth, contrary to the published reports, the government has no intention of prohibiting donations at all, but is bringing the legislation in line with the practice employed in other countries, the senior analyst for the 21st Century Institute said, adding that the act merely wants to ban the anonymity of donors over 500 thousand forints. Identifying larger financial sources increases transparency, as the legality of the financing of many self-identified NGOs is dubious at best.