A 35-second news segment on Sunday’s historic anti-Lukashenko protest in Belarus encapsulates how publicly funded, pro-government Hungarian media downplays the importance of recent events in the former Soviet Republic.
This snippet was broadcast on August 16, 2020 as part of the prime-time evening newscast, Híradó, on the Hungarian National Television’s M1 Channel. While western media outlets dispersed aerial images of tens of thousands of peaceful opposition supporters hiving at the Minsk Hero City Obelisk — in a pro-democracy rally that observers have marked as the largest in Belarus’ history — Hungarian viewers were left with bleak images of Lukashenko addressing his supporters in front of the country’s parliament. The news story mostly presented the Belarusian president’s agenda, and failed to allude to last week’s police brutality, mass beatings, and detentions.
An English translation and a Hungarian transcript are available below the video.
Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko will not call new elections at the orders of foreign powers, but he is ready to introduce immediate reforms if that is what the people expect of him.
The Belarusian president has denied to have won his sixth term due to election fraud last week, blaming the ensuing violence on the opposition.
Thousands rallied in Minsk in support of the president. Meanwhile, the opposition is getting ready for further protests.
Demonstrations have been ongoing in the streets of Belarus since last Sunday’s presidential elections.
Nem hajlandó külföldi parancsra új választást kiírni, de kész azonnali reformokra, ha valóban ez az, amit az emberek várnak tőle – jelentette ki a fehérorosz elnök.
Aljakszandr Lukasenka tagadta, hogy egy hete csalással szerezte meg hatodik mandátumát, egyben az ellenzékre hárította a felelősséget az erőszak elharapódzásáért.
Minszkben közben ezrek gyűltek össze, hogy támogatásukról biztosítsák az elnököt, de az ellenzék is újabb tüntetésre készül.
Fehéroroszországban folyamatosak az utcai demonstrációk a múlt vasárnapi elnökválasztás óta.
Source: M1 – Híradó, YouTube
Contributed by Eszter Minár
Illustrated by István Gábor Takács
WHAT IS THIS BLOG ABOUT?
This blog provides you English news updates, articles, and videos about rising authoritarian rule in Hungary.
WHY DO WE NEED THIS BLOG NOW?
We live in an age where democracy is in decay and authoritarianism is rising. One of the first countries where the tide turned and the process of democratisation was reversed is Hungary. Since it came to power in 2010, the government of Viktor Orban has been slowly undermining the rule of law with its constant attacks against democratic institutions, independent press, and civil society.
According to the Nations in Transit report published by Freedom House in 2020, Hungary is no longer a democracy but a “hybrid regime”, having lost its status as a “semi-consolidated democracy”.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, the situation has further deteriorated. The government used the crisis as a pretence for a power-grab that has been unprecedented in the European Union: the Orban government can now govern by decree, without any constitutional checks or balances, for an unspecified time period. Armoured with its newly gained powers, the government is now launching further assaults against civil liberties and the rule of law.
Civil society and the remnants of the independent press make huge efforts to monitor and document these assaults, but they often remain invisible to those who do not speak Hungarian. This blog aims to fill this gap and provide an analytic insight into rising authoritarianism by presenting relevant cases for abuses of power, and giving voice to activists and communities under attack.