Hungarian diplomats curtail free speech in North America

Hungarian diplomats in both Canada and the United States have engaged in a concerted effort to silence Hungarian Canadians and Hungarian Americans critical of the Orbán government and to have them removed from local Hungarian communities or ensure that they are otherwise isolated. The most recent incident comes from Los Angeles, where Hungary’s Consul General, Tamás Széles, demanded that the vice president of the United Magyar House, a community centre, be removed from his position. Vice President Álmos Sárvári published a critical comment about the Hungarian government on his personal Facebook page. He spoke not as a the vice president of the community centre, but expressed an opinion as a private citizen, in response to a friend’s comment on the social media site.

Consul General Széles immediately phoned the president of the community centre, Miklós Pereházy, and reportedly said the following: “You saw what Álmos posted again, didn’t you?” This was not the first time that the consul general expressed concern about the fact that the community centre’s vice president is critical of the Orbán regime. Mr. Pereházy pushed back on the suggestion that the vice president must be removed from his position due to his personal opposition to the Hungarian government, but he understood that the consul general was demanding nothing less from him.

Hungary’s Consul General in Los Angeles, Mr. Tamás Széles.

Speaking to the Index news site, Mr. Pereházy noted: “Everyone has the right of freedom of opinion. In America, we take this inalienable right very seriously. In 1956, people did not flee Hungary so that they would be silenced.”

When Mr. Széles realized that the vice president of the United Magyar House would not be removed, he threatened to no longer hold Hungarian national celebrations in the centre. Traditionally, Hungarian national commemorations are jointly organized in the centre by both local Hungarians and the consul general. Mr. Széles stayed true to his word and decided to organize the August 20th St. Stephen’s Day celebration at a local Catholic church instead. Mr. Pereházy submitted a written complaint and accused Hungary’s Foreign Ministry of conspiratorial behaviour.

In Canada, prior ambassador László Pordány, former First Secretary Lajos Oláh as well as outgoing ambassador Bálint Ódor engaged in the same type of conspiratorial activities within the Hungarian community and worked to politically influence community organizations, interfering in the life of Canadian non-profit associations in a manner that is unacceptable for the diplomat of any foreign country. In every case, including the one with Consul General Széles, we encourage all affected parties to file a report with the relevant agency in both Canada and the United States.

13 Comments

  1. Agnes Zahony says:

    This is so disturbing. Is Hungary headed back to being a country ruled by an autocrat? How can a man who lived the communist years do such an 180 degree turn? It is shameful and I for one will not be visiting Hungary anytime soon.

  2. Nicholas Molnar says:

    Your so called Hungarian Free Press found something again to put down the country and the Government. You are in line with the New York Times, which never missed a beat to belittle Hungary.

    • Robert Morrison says:

      I like this: ” so called Hungarian Free Press” 100% true.
      My comments are wiped out repeatedly in the name of free speech without explanation. Non of them are racist or in any way against normal debate standards.

  3. A campaign has been underway for years to convert Hungarian-Americans to supporters of Orban’s illeberal, fascist regime.
    Fellegi from NY distributes funds to “deserving” groups. The agents of the Korosi-Csoma program serve as Fidesz missioneries around the US and Canada. (They should be registered as foreign agents.)

  4. Robert Morrison says:

    Let him who is without sin cast the first stone. Only those who are faultless have the right to pass judgment upon others.

  5. Thanks for the wonderful article.

    • Robert Morrison says:

      If my comments didn’t disappeared from here I would agree with you. Until such time I must say you are always welcome to praise the publication but stay away from criticizing anything here.

  6. Sandor Kerekes says:

    Dear Mr. Nicholas Molnar, it was nor difficult to ”find” the fault with the government and the consul. No sternuous search was necessary, because they are openly and blatanly pressing forward with their agressive proselitising efforts to interfere in the community. Is it your intention to defend this agressive drive of conquest? Because if it is, then by all means, come forward and say so!

    • Robert Morrison says:

      Lucky you. Your comment is allowed because it is against the HU government. Mine are wiped out. Is that the free speech a la liberalism?

      • “Is that the free speech a la liberalism?” Go to the market place in Budapest and keep your speech loudly, if somebody hit your teeth out. Then you got what you defend. And do not shit into other people’s living rooms, to say that this is liberal.

  7. Nicholas Molnàr et al
    There’s such of abundance of appalling news “to pin down on” a fascist regime.
    Three small reports from just the past week:
    – the village councilor who renovated/painted the dilapidated local playground is investigated for failing to meet requirements re paint qualitied
    – the KFKP (Two tail dog party) who painted luminiscent the sign posts of a dangerous village crossing was investigated for defacing public property and has to perform restitution.
    – After the regime stopped providing, Rev. Ivànyi brought food to transit point detainees, but the authorities prevented the distribution. The containers’ windows lookin out have been shuttered blind.

    But here’s an eloquent litany of major things that can be “pinned on” this regime:

    https://varosikurir.hu/bruck-andras-nekrolog/

    • Robert Morrison says:

      I am so happy for you that your comment is allowed to appear. I wish to have the same privilege.

  8. Phil S. Stine says:

    This is the third comment I’ve posted on this site; the first two have not been published as they’re still “awaiting moderation” a month or so after being posted; so I haven’t bothered trying since till now.

    Now here we have a thread with just 12 posts; 5 of these from the one guy who devotes 4 out of the 5 posts to complaining that his posts are not being posted.

    As to the article, I think to title is inaccurate as it implies that the Hungarian regime has succeeded in curtailing free speech in the US. They may well have tried/ be trying to do so; but have little or no prospect of doing so. Unfortunately they’ve been rather successful in Hungary itself.

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