Hungary is “considerably freer than countries in Western Europe”, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office told a conference on Monday, citing conditions in the Hungarian media as “clear evidence”. Gergely Gulyás insisted that mainstream media in Hungary covered “very different values from the extreme left to the radical right”. Every ideology is present and “everybody has an opportunity to participate in discussions about topics of public interest”, he added. In Western Europe, by comparison, “the press that branded itself conservative before has by now given up its positions on all important issues,” Gulyás said. “Press freedom in Hungary cannot be questioned, everybody can publish in line with their own orientation and nobody will be stigmatised for their opinion,” he added. The 21st century is “threatening with left-liberal themes becoming exclusive” and “those that won’t accept that could be excluded from politics”, Gulyás said. “But central Europe has some strong resistance from this point of view … Hungary has not given up the goal that ‘normalcy’ should continue to be promoted,” he said.
“Inevitable” social changes now under way in Western Europe “do not favour the conservative world”, Gulyás said, and raised concern if “principles and foundation that can make society operational in the long run, and which are accepted by everyone as right and undisputable could be maintained”. Gulyás said the European Union “tries to amplify the voice of forces that failed to win a majority at the general election in a member state”. He insisted that “political objectives” not supported by the majority “are promoted through blackmail, cutting funds, threats and removing [a member’s] voting rights”, adding that it was an “anti-democratic experiment”. The Hungarian government must participate in Europe’s debates on issues of public interest, and Hungary’s think tanks should follow suit, Gulyás said. “The more forums for putting one’s position forward, the more chance for success for the government’s policy aimed at preserving the national character,” he insisted.