EFJ calls awarding of Hungarian journalism prize to far-right reporter a sinister farce

Today the

European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) expressed its surprise and concern

over a journalism prize awarded to a far-right journalist in Hungary.



is a sinister farce to award a journalism prize to somebody who is so blatantly

disregarding journalistic ethics” said EFJ President Arne König. “It obviously

does not reward outstanding journalism but in fact is being given to those who

tell the stories the government wants to hear”.



year the Hungarian government awards the Táncsis-Prize to journalists

and media workers. This

year, one of this top journalism prize was granted to Ferenc

Szaniszló, a far-right journalist working for pro-government Echo

TV. Szaniszló

is also known to have regularly made anti-Roma and anti-Semitic

comments, having called for example Roma “human-like

figures” on air and having been fined in 2011 already for hate speech.


Upon hearing Szaniszó’s commendation, laureates of

earlier years returned their prizes in protest. Following the prize ceremony,

Hungarian Minister Zoltán Balog, the government’s official presenter of

the Táncsis-Prize, claimed that he himself had not been aware of the opinions

Szaniszló had voiced earlier.



the reassuring speeches of Hungarian officials, this latest development shows

that the government of Hungary pursues an ideological agenda in each of their

decisions dealing with media. This time the award given to an agitator is

simply another evidence of the political interference in journalistic work”,

said König.


The EFJ affiliate,

the Association of Hungarian Journalists MUOSZ traditionally always had its

delegate in the professional jury making propositions for the Táncsics-prize. In a statement MUOSZ said that “this year, for the

first time ever, the largest Hungarian journalist's organization was excluded

from this process, and was given the chance only to nominate one colleague.

Although we considered it very carefully, according to pure professional

criteria, our nominee was not accepted and his refusal was not commented  or

explained by those officials who made the final decision”.



On 20 March, Ferenc Szaniszló returned his Táncsics-Prize. Minister Zoltán Balog, under international pressure over the government's choice, had called upon Szaniszló to give back his award and so he did. Prior to this, the jury deciding on the prizes had made a public statement saying that they did in fact not promote Szaniszló.


For more information, please contact EFJ on + 32 2 235 22 15

The European Federation of Journalists is the European group of the International Federation of Journalists. It represents over 300,000 journalists in 37 countries.