Since his return to power in 2010, Viktor Orbán has meticulously unravelled the rule of law and media pluralism, while holding the EU at bay. A short history of a decade’s attacks on the free press in Hungary.
Réka Kinga Papp
is editor-in-chief at Eurozine since November 2018.
Papp is a journalist specializing in environmental, social and human rights issues, author of a book on sex work and prostitution in Hungary, Aki kurvának áll: szexmunka sztorik (Once You Enrol As a Whore: Sex Work Stories, Kossuth 2017). She anchored Hungarian speaking social science infotainment radio programme Professzor Paprika (2015-19) on Klubrádió’s broadcast and indie political YouTube show Feles (2017-18).
In an insane game of geopolitical musical chairs, some post-Soviet European states try to cast themselves as Central, although they don’t feel quite the same way about their neighbours. Why won’t they just identify with the East? A pair of reads from opposite ends of the Union offers fresh insight into the discourse of Central Europe.
I was going to write a fiery editorial for Women’s Day about how the pandemic has eaten up women’s time and energy – but then I ended up homeschooling instead.
Yet another independent outlet is slain in Hungary: Klubrádió just lost its broadcast license, resuming a decade-long campaign to silence the channel. Journalists march on, hoping for a lengthy legal battle to do them justice in the end. They have accommodated pressure, but their defiance comes at a high price.
Carving a way out of this gruesome year
Next year will be tough. Calendar cycles don’t solve anything. We need to tackle multiple crises and come to terms with our losses, both personal and social. Yet overcoming is always rooted in the firm belief that something else is possible. And not only that: it’s also ours to make.
Hungarian values and how to misunderstand them
Post-Socialist baggage is sometimes still blamed for Hungarians’ support for an illiberal supermajority. But can a society be expected to democratize when its social institutions have been subjected to decades of attrition?
The sex-party scandal around Fidesz MEP József Szájer has brought undeniable entertainment. But this is far from being a case of hypocrisy meeting its comeuppance. Orbán’s grey eminence fell from grace and into ridicule, but will not be held accountable for his much darker deeds.
This year’s Eurozine conference is taking place online. Those suffering from Zoom fatigue need not worry: we will be providing our followers with a combination of condensed conversation, exciting speakers and open debate. Because now, more than ever, we need to cut through the noise.
Discussing ‘The Legacy of division: Europe after 1989’ with the curators
Was it foolish to expect Europe to unite after the Iron Curtain fell? What kept the wounds from healing? Talking the post-Communist heritage in Gagarin, the Eurozine podcast.
Some additions to the use of the current lingua franca
Can language be separated from its users? Who owns English, when everybody needs to learn it?
Does the comfort of the quarantined consumer outweigh the life and safety of the slaughterhouse workers who cannot afford to stay home? The recent coronavirus outbreaks in meat processing plants pose a dreadful question.
The US has no monopoly on under-serving and over-policing minorities. Police brutality is reported from the French suburbs to the Bulgarian countryside, and neo-Nazi resurgence is threatening European Roma in Hungary and Ukraine. Europeans must not wait for another horrific murder to draw attention to our own systemic racism.
Ágnes Heller, Krzysztof Michalski, Miriam Rasch and the wisdom we borrow
Dataism is the new positivism, promising to make humans more effective. But we’ve seen horrific attempts at perfecting humans before. Instead, we need a better understanding of differences, and the wisdom that lies in the love of life.
While the rest of Europe is trying to keep citizens from mass economic ruin, the Hungarian government uses the coronavirus for another power grab, also coming down on theatres and transgender people. Orbán knows he can get away with it because he offers a key political product.
Decades of cuts to public health are now exposed as the spread of the coronavirus overwhelms the system. Europe has been lucky to observe hurricanes, floods and plagues of the past decades from afar, but geography or wealth doesn’t safeguard us from epidemics. How we treat our least powerful now will be telling about what we can hope for.
Eurozine podcast part 2: Local journalism in the digital age
Globalization was supposed to connect people but instead ended up connecting the powerful. Local news is rapidly disappearing, a side-effect of digitalization and the ownership concentration in media markets. In an age of technological changes and political pressure, niche publications and a renaissance of zines lead the quest for new, sustainable models in publishing.