Recently in the spotlight

The Budapest Roma Holocaust monument.

Opposition calls for Balog’s resignation over revisionist Holocaust comment

Hungarian human resources minister Zoltán Balog’s comments that Roma were not deported from Hungary during the Holocaust and that Roma intellectuals need to be careful not to focus as much on the experience of the Holocaust as the Jews did, for fear that the sense of “victimhood” lead to schizophrenia, has resulted in calls for the minister’s resignation. Ágnes Kunhalmi, […]

by · August 5, 2014 · Politics
Photo: Mr. Orban (left) with Mr. Saakashvili (right)  and "boychik" Péter Szíjjártó  Hungarian foreign minister-designate in the middle.

Did Saakashvili ask for asylum from Orbán?

Last week Georgia’s ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili showed up at Viktor Orbán’s doorstep in Budapest. He came with a video crew. Mr. Saakashvili is in a peculiar situation, he is on the run. He left Georgia in mid-November 2013, two days before his presidential term officially expired. Georgian authorities recently brought charges against him under part three of article 333 of […]

by · August 4, 2014 · East
Zoltán Balog. Photo: fidesz.hu

Zoltán Balog denies aspects of Roma Holocaust and says “victimhood” leads to schizophrenia

One day after the commemoration of the Roma Holocaust (also known as Porajmos) Hungarian Human Resources Minister Zoltán Balog denied that Hungarian Roma were deported from Hungary and went on to warn the community that they must be careful not to  focus as much on these Holocaust experiences as the country’s Jewish population has focused on the Shoah, for fear that […]

by · August 4, 2014 · Politics
Victor Ponta speaks before the Szekler and Hungarian flags in Nyergestető, Hargita county. Photo: Levente Vargyasi.

Romanian PM Victor Ponta speaks in Hungarian at commemoration

On Sunday, Romania’s Prime Minister, the 41 year old Victor Ponta, addressed about 200 people in Nyergestető (Piatra Niergeș), Hargita in Hungarian, during a commemoration that recalled the 165th anniversary of a critical battle during the 1848/49 Revolution and War of Independence. Mr. Ponta was invited to the commemoration by Hunor Kelemen, president of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania […]

by · August 3, 2014 · Diaspora
Reuters / B. Szabó

Hungarian democracy in a nutshell — The Jewish contribution to the European integration project

I am speaking about democracy in a nutshell today, because pretty well that’s all is left of Hungarian democracy by today. In fact, it is even quite loose in that nutshell, after having shrunk so small. On December 31 2013, in the late night hours, as the country was well on its way to get drunk and celebrate the new year, […]

by · August 3, 2014 · Focus
Public broadcaster M1 is known for its blatantly one-sided, pro-government reporting.

Far-right government consultant defends Tusnádfürdő speech on public TV

Hungary’s M1, the main public television channel, interviewed economist and Orbán government consultant Csaba Lentner, airing his views on why journalists in the West reacted so critically and fiercely to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s infamous ‘illiberal’ speech in Tusnádfürdő, Romania, last weekend. What the state broadcaster (which is hardly known for its fair and balanced reporting, even though they are […]

by · August 3, 2014 · Politics
Orlai Produció's adaption of Amadeus. Photo: Bea Gergely.

Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus opens in Budapest – An HFP photo report

Bea Gergely, a Budapest-based freelance photo reporter, attended Orlai Produkció’s adaptation of Amadeus, a play by British playwright and screenwriter Sir Peter Sheffer. The play offers the audience a fictionalized version of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s life. The narrative is told from the perspective of fellow composer Antonio Salieri who — as a devout Catholic and as someone who is highly envious […]

by · August 2, 2014 · Culture
Viktor Orbán. Photo: Facebook.

Orbán adopts Putinism: The West finally wakes up

Never in over four years of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s  rise to power with a supermajority have major western journals and commentators sounded the alarm bells quite so loud. In just the last 24 hours, two major outlets have written about the demise of parliamentary democracy in Hungary, in a manner that has never before been seen, not even when […]

by · August 1, 2014 · Politics
Aida at the Margaret Island Open Air Theatre: Pre-opening night photos by Bea Gergely.

The Hungarian State Opera’s production of Aida: An exclusive behind-the-scenes look

Freelance photographer Bea Gergely had the chance to peak behind the scenes, as the Hungarian State Opera prepares for a production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida at the Budapest Summer Festival. The opera will be hosted at the Margaret Island Open Air Theatre (Margitszigeti Szabadtéri Színház). Ms. Gergely shared her exclusive photos with the Hungarian Free Press, giving opera aficionados an insider’s glimpse […]

by · August 1, 2014 · Culture
Miklós Szeszták

Civil servants axed at Hungarian Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Development

After terminating or “re-assigning” some 200 career diplomats, who were  not perceived as staunchly loyal to the Orbán government, Fidesz has axed 190 civil servants at Hungary’s Ministry of National Development (NFM). In June alone, NFM “lost” 179 employees. An additional 14 mid-career civil servants were removed in July. Despite the fact that after winning the April 6th elections and […]

by · July 31, 2014 · Politics