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
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”,
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.