Hungary: European Journalists appeal to Hungarian media to keep hate speech out of journalism

The European

Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today expressed its grave concern over a recent

anti-Roma article by senior editor Zsolt Bayer.


In an article

published in the Magyar Hírlap newspaper on January 5, Bayer commented

on a recent stabbing involving Roma suspects, writing that “a significant

number of Gypsies are unsuitable for co-existence … These Gypsies are animals

and act as animals … they should not be tolerated or understood but punished.” Magyar

Hírlap is a daily owned by Gábor SZÉLES, a well- known Fidesz supporter.


“We are

horrified to read again and again in Hungary media articles that incite hatred

against minority groups,” said EFJ President Arne König. “The editor- in- chief

of Magyar Hírlap should never have allowed such an article to be

printed. This shows the urgent need for dialogue among media players, including

journalists’ organisations to agree on the responsibilities and duties of

journalists and editors.”


The Ethical

Committee of the Association of the Hungarian Journalists, an EFJ affiliate,

also condemned the action of Zsolt Bayer, stating that “The views expressed in

his article violate the rules and values of the Code of Ethics of the Association

of Hungarian Journalists and are in contradiction with the 1003/93 EU

recommendations on ethical journalism, as well as against the rules set by

Artcile 11 of the European Human Rights Charter.”



accused the authorities in Hungary of undermining responsible journalism in the

country in their drive to control media which encourages extreme views in



“We note that

the government did not react and speak out against this hate speech. Its

attempt to control the media in Hungary has created a situation where hate

speech like this seems to be tolerated,” added König. “At the same time, media

outlets which take seriously their role of critical reporting are being

deprived of advertisements for political reasons. Journalism in Hungary is

suffering from self-censorship and hostile legal actions on top of the current



The European

Commission senior officials have also strongly criticised the article by Bayer.

The Commission’s Vice President Viviane Reding and Commissioner for Digital

Agenda Neelie Kroes called Bayer's remarks unacceptable and said that the

European Union has no room for racism, hate speech or any other forms of



The EFJ is the European group of the International Federation of Journalists and it represents over 300,000 journalists in 37 countries.
For more information contact the EFJ at +32 2 235.2200