George Soros has accused the Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán of building a “mafia state”, as he warned the fate of the Central European University he founded still hangs in the balance.
BUDAPEST, Hungary — Several hundred people rallied Saturday outside an office of Hungary’s governing Fidesz party after a journalist said she was assaulted at a party meeting by a government official.
Julia Halasz, a reporter with the 444.hu news site, said a meeting organizer took away her cellphone and dragged her down several flights of steps and out of a school by the arm while she was covering a Fidesz public forum.
Economy Minister Mihaly Varga and Defense Minister Istvan Simicsko spoke at Thursday’s forum promoting the government’s “Let’s Stop Brussels” campaign, which claims the European Union wants Hungary to raise taxes and energy prices and take in large numbers of migrants.
Halasz said Laszlo Szabo, who is also in charge of the government office arranging celebrations and remembrances, accused her of making a video during the forum, which she denied, and erased several photographs she took with her mobile phone.
Halasz reported the alleged assault to police, while Fidesz said it would file its own report, claiming libel.
Fidesz denied her claims, saying she failed to follow press rules at the meeting, disrupted the forum and argued loudly with audience members.
“It’s very frightening that they attack me just because I work for a medium which the government can’t influence,” Halasz told The Associated Press. “I have witnesses who can corroborate that none of their accusations are true.”
Participants at Saturday’s rally in Budapest shouted slogans in support of press freedom.
Since Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s return to power in 2010, his allies have greatly increased their ownership of newspapers, broadcasters and online media, turning the outlets into unquestioning supporters of the government. Hungary’s state media is also under strict political control.
The government has “clearly turned public service media into a tool of government propaganda,” media analyst Agnes Urban said at the rally.
Michael Ignatieff is not a person you would expect to find at the centre of a global political power play featuring names such as Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.
He was the rangy intellectual presenter on late night TV arts shows of the early 1990s in the UK, who looked like he might moonlight in an experimental jazz band.
On April 4, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban scored a victory in his campaign against Western-backed institutions and companies when the parliament gave him the O.K. to shutter Central European University (CEU) in Budapest.
The move helps Orban tighten his grip on power and may well spell the end for CEU, a prestigious and financially independent institution funded by Hungarian-born George Soros, a U.S. financier who has given heavily to liberal causes around the globe.
In Budapest, tens of thousands of people, mainly students, marched in protest at the treatment of CEU on consecutive weekends in April. But Orban won’t be inclined to back down. His growing control of Hungary’s traditional media ensures favorable coverage for the government and few opportunities for the fragmented opposition to make its case.
Pressure is mounting on Hungary’s right-wing government after it adopted a law that would effectively shut down Central European University, an institution founded by the Hungarian-American philanthropist George Soros shortly after the fall of Communism.
An American official and a United Nations expert on Tuesday joined European Union officials in expressing grave concern about the law, which was rushed through Parliament by the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Tens of thousands of protesters poured into the streets of Budapest on Sunday to urge President Janos Ader not to sign the law, but on Monday he did just that.
Hungary will cooperate with Iran on setting up a small nuclear reactor for scientific-educational purposes, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff told a news conference on Thursday.
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — The future of a Budapest-based university founded by billionaire philanthropist George Soros depends on an agreement between the Hungarian and U.S. governments, Hungary’s prime minister said Friday.
Viktor Orban, who considers the Hungarian-born Soros an ideological rival, said that Central European University, founded in 1991, is “cheating” with its unfair advantage over Hungarian universities because its diplomas are accepted in both Hungary and the U.S.