Democracy & Justice

Hungarian State Media Condemned for Lying about Civil Society Organisation

The youth organisation of the smaller governing party in Hungary must apologise to Menedék, the Hungarian Association for Migrants, at a press conference after the NGOs reputation was damaged by comments the party's spokesperson made via state media.

by Gábor Medvegy

Last year the Deputy President of the Alliance of Young Christian Democrats gave a press briefing in front the Menedék association's office, placing a sticker on its front door, which said: "organisation that supports migration". The Deputy President talked about the need to fight organisations that help migrants. He then twisted the words of a Menedék member from an earlier interview, claiming that at the press briefing the association had said "immigration is good because people coming from all over the place are superior to the national population". In fact, the interview did not include such a statement. Attila Melegh, a migration sociologist, actually said that research shows the people arriving in Hungary are more highly qualified on average than the Hungarian population.

At the press briefing it was repeatedly stated that Menedék was "one of the Soros-sponsored organisations" trying to "bring migrants in Hungary". As a matter of fact, the organisation provides assistance in matters of social integration to foreigners legally residing in Hungary. The false statements were made in a news program on Hungarian national television, without giving Menedék a chance to explain what they actually do.

During the court procedure it was revealed that the pro-government organisations involved had failed to check what they said about the organisations they were attacking. The spokesperson of the Alliance of Young Christian Democrats made false statements without reflection. "It is important that the people that create the propaganda actually experience that their actions have consequences," said HCLU's attorney Bea Bodrogi.


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