The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today expressed its grave concern over a recent anti-Roma article by senior editor Zsolt Bayer
18 January 2013
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.”
The EFJ accused the authorities in Hungary of undermining responsible journalism in the country in their drive to control media which encourages extreme views in media.
“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 media.”
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 intolerance.
The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) represents over 300.000 journalist in 37 European countries. It is the European group of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).
Please contact the EFJ under +32 2 352 202/00