Recently in the spotlight

Viktor Orbán in Kossuth Rádió's studios on June 12th, 2015. Photo: Szilárd Koszticsák / MTI.

Orbán: Hungary’s anti-immigration billboards are “mildly worded”

In his weekly Friday morning interview with the state-run Kossuth Rádió, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán asserted that the government’s openly xenophobic and highly controversial billboards telling immigrants to respect the country’s culture, not to steal the jobs of ethnic Hungarians and not to break the law are actually “mild” in tone. “They emphasize that Hungary is an open and friendly […]

by · June 12, 2015 · Politics
Conference participants listen to presentations on Day 2.  Photo: C.A.

The Hungarian Studies Association of Canada’s 2015 Conference (Photo report)

The Hungarian Studies Association of Canada (HSAC) celebrated its 30th anniversary this year, at a conference held at the University of Ottawa from May 30th to June 1st, 2015. A member of the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, the 2015 HSAC conference was especially dynamic, with 29 presenters coming from across Canada, the United States, Hungary, Romania, […]

by · June 11, 2015 · Culture
Photo: catalinivan.ro

European Parliament condemns Hungary’s Orbán government

The European Parliament accepted a strongly worded condemnation of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government for suggesting that it wanted to reintroduce capital punishment and for its overtly racist hate campaign against immigrants and potential refugees. While Mr. Orbán tried to rationalize and explain away his government’s rhetoric and policies when speaking in the EP a few weeks ago, it is […]

by · June 10, 2015 · Politics
Alan Shepard's letter to the Hungarian Free Press.

Concordia University’s president writes to the Hungarian Free Press

When I returned to Montreal last weekend, I found an unexpected, but certainly much appreciated letter in my mailbox from Alan Shepard, the President and Vice Chancellor of Concordia University. I received my B.A. (Honours) in History from Concordia in 2003 and our readers may recall that in early March, we reported on a panel discussion hosted by the University […]

by · June 10, 2015 · Diaspora
Prime Minister Orbán speaking at the summit organized by the Union of Arab Banks, at the Budapest Hilton. Photo: Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI.

Hungary is an open and friendly country, says Orbán to Arabic bankers

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s capacity to tell an audience one thing with seemingly deep conviction and dramatic rhetorical skill, and then tell another audience the polar opposite, with a straight face and without batting an eye, is singular, surreal and disturbing all at once. The Fidesz government has just launched a rabidly racist campaign with hundreds of billboards, suggesting that […]

by · June 9, 2015 · Politics
Viktor Szigetvári. Photo: civilhetes.net

Viktor Szigetvári: European People’s Party tolerance of Orbán is shameful

On Sunday, I exchanged a couple of emails with Viktor Szigetvári, chairman of Hungary’s centre-left opposition Együtt party. (Együtt means ‘Together’ in Hungarian and the party was previously associated with Gordon Bajnai, Hungary’s former prime minister.) I was pleased to see his activists engaged in civil disobedience, by defacing dozens of the xenophobic government billboards that now dot the landscape […]

by · June 8, 2015 · Politics
In this racist government billboard, the regime tells immigrants that if they come to Hungary, they  have to respect Hungarian laws.

Activists arrested–Orbán’s police guard racist billboards using surveillance

Six opposition activists who defaced the Orbán government’s rabidly xenophobic billboards were arrested at dawn, two of whom were kept at the Zugló police station for several hours. The three men and three women are all in their twenties and thirties. According to the activists who have since been released, police officers are being used to keep the growing number […]

by · June 7, 2015 · Politics
"If you come to Hungary, you have to respect our culture!" Photo: 444.hu

Hungarians deface government’s openly racist billboards

It’s reassuring to see that there are some residents in Budapest who will take a bucket of paint and a brush to erase the words on the Orbán government’s virulently racist and populist new billboards, which tell immigrants (in Hungarian), and in no uncertain words, that they are not welcome. Two such billboards went up yesterday in Budapest’s 13th District, […]

by · June 6, 2015 · Politics
Photo: Bernadett Szabó/Reuters.

RCA Viktor–His Master’s Voice in Canada (3)

Why is Canada a key test-market for RCA Viktor? Perceived acoustic compatibility is not the only reason why RCA Viktor chose Canada as the place to roll-out its sound-system. There are important historical factors behind RCA Viktor’s secret attachment to Canada. This 3rd section in a series on the language of political deception used by the Orbán regime in Canada […]

by · June 5, 2015 · Focus
RCA Victor's Nipper in neon wonderland. The trademark of the Victor Talking Machine Company, in neon rendition. Source: The Reflecting Light blog,

RCA Viktor–His master’s voice in Canada (2): The rules of diplomatic conduct within the Transatlantic community

Before turning to the description of RCA Viktor’s Canadian sound system, a system in which Hungary’s diplomats in Canada play a commanding but not exclusive role, I want to make some general observations about the standards diplomatic representatives are expected to uphold in those countries that belong to the Transatlantic community (TAC). This is necessary in order to gauge whether […]

by · June 4, 2015 · Focus