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article imageOp-Ed: Assaults on Hungarian journalists hushed up – why?

By Christopher Szabo     Nov 4, 2014 in World
Budapest - In the widespread coverage given to demonstrations against an unpopular tax in Hungary, one thing is missing; the assaults by demonstrators on at least three TV crews covering the demonstrations.
It so happens that TV crews working for MTVA and Hir TV, both conservative news outlets, have found a total lack of solidarity from more mainstream, left-wing international journalists. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) for instance, said nothing about it, nor does Reporters without Borders.
However, the IFJ is up in arms about an Israeli police attack against photographers where one photographer’s camera was destroyed, he was hit in the hand and another colleague was hit in the arm.
In the attack on the Hir TV reporter, his TV crew member was struck and his camera knocked to the ground and damaged. He was prevented from doing his job, while a female colleague was prevented from reporting at another location in Budapest.
Apparently, for the IJF, this is not worth a mention. Nor is it worth a mention according to Reporters Without Borders.
Yet these and similar international organisations claim to be deeply concerned about media freedoms both in Hungary and around the world.
And I haven’t found a single mention in English on the Internet. And there has also been a very small number of articles mentioning violence during the demos, when some demonstrators broke away and attacked the governing FIDESZ offices, causing serious damage to windows, tearing down a fence etc.
It seems the government held the police back, as no-one was injured by them, but six were held for trespass and damage to property, which is quite a contrast with the more than 150 people injured in demonstrations in October, 2006, under a left-wing government.
So what’s going on here?
What if one of the TV reporters, or a cameraman had been injured? Or killed? It doesn’t take much when a crowd of people are throwing things, striking journalists and the like.
I must confess I am deeply disappointed. This seems to be a real case of a double standard. I hope this isn’t true, but it seems if liberal journalists are harassed, attacked or, God forbid, killed, then we must take action, but if the journalists work for a conservative outlet, do what you like to them?
An exception must be mentioned, the old former official Communist Hungarian “journalist trade union,” MUOSZ. It is currently the main left-wing journalists’ association and it condemned the rough treatment of the conservative journalists.
So the lesson? Well, do not believe everything you read. Do not believe everyone you read. Also, do not try to levy a tax on the Internet. (To governments.)
Whatever the lessons to be learnt, this was not a brave show by the international news agencies and journalists organisations. They have not covered themselves in glory.
Again.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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