June 20, 2012

Jan Mainka

Jan Mainka Publisher,
Budapester Zeitung and
The Budapest Times

I am not a lawyer nor am I an expert in media law. I am a publisher of the only two foreign language weeklies in Hungary. It is only from this point of view that I can judge the new Hungarian media law and the situation of the freedom of press in my country. I can say that for my team, nothing has changed when compared to the previous situation. There is not even the slightest sign of the Hungarian government trying to put pressure on us. We are absolutely free to write about what we want to, and this of course means taking the minority viewpoints and the personal rights of individuals into account – just as before. It is a paradox, but the only real political pressure that I occasionally feel – in the form of insulting aggressive remarks about me or my newspapers in articles, on webpages like Wikipedia or in the forum section of our web pages – come exactly from those who allegedly burn for the freedom of press in my country and whose tolerance ends when they get confronted with articles that treat our prime minister, Mr. Orbán, any differently than a “Dr. Evil” from the East. As a result of this latent pressure and because of my unwillingness to assist in undifferentiated Orbán bashing, I stopped writing editorials a few months ago. In this sense, I have to correct my above statement regarding not feeling political pressure about what we can and cannot publish… but I hope this will pass soon.

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