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Official public statement

Official public statement on the much-criticised new media legislation

A heated debate surrounds the new media legislation, with many seeing it as a curtailment of freedom. According to the provisions of the so-called ‘Holocaust Law’, making certain public statements can lead to a prison sentence. We do not deny the Holocaust, but neither do we deny the murderous atrocities of Communism, just as we do not deny the crimes against humanity committed in Bosnia, against the Bosnian and Croat populations. (I experienced first-hand the horrors of that time.) According to the Patriot Act passed in the USA in 2001, for example, journalists publishing information without a named source or reference can be charged with supporting terrorism. I mention these things only to stress that we should not speak of the ‘developed West’ without qualification.

In the following we have focused on some fundamental aspects of the Act, and have given our opinion on each of them:

- All media content providers shall provide authentic, rapid and accurate information on local, national and EU affairs and on any event that bears relevance to the citizens of the Republic of Hungary and members of the Hungarian nation.

The above principle is very important for Hungarian Muslims, and adherence to it will defend against false and misleading reporting on Islam and its followers in the future. The Hungarian Islamic Community and Hungarian Muslims form part of the Hungarian nation!

- Internet, television and radio media services are obliged to provide balanced reporting. It will be a dereliction not to report on “events of considerable importance to society”.

From now on it will not only be necessary for the Hungarian press to report on the activities of “Muslim terrorists”, but also when, for example, the Hungarian Islamic Community undertakes a significant aid mission, or when it makes public its annual report.

- Content providers must respect human dignity.

Another welcome measure for Hungarian Muslims. From now on, depictions of us as a terrorist horde or a rabble cannot be made with impunity.

- The humiliating and insulting presentation of defenceless, exploited individuals will be subject to sanctions.

We agree, because our religion supports respect for human dignity!

- Media content must not be used for, or lead towards, the incitement to hatred of individuals, nations, communities, national, ethnic, linguistic or other minorities – or a majority – or any church or religious group; it must not be used for, or lead towards, open or covert insult or demonisation of any community.

I do not need to comment at length: we agree completely! Islam does not discriminate among nations and peoples, and it recognises the rights of minorities and other religions.

- Media content must not be used for the violation of privacy.

We support this completely! Private life is sacred, and to intrude into it is a form of spying, according to our faith.

- Media content must not harm the mental, spiritual, moral and physical development of minors.

This has our complete support! This should have been enforced sooner! Our children are the guarantee of our future. We are responsible before God for their mental and physical development.

Part of the new legislation will brings a change that will affect the everyday lives of viewers and listeners. it stipulates that commercials cannot be louder than the programme in which they are placed ; at least 35% of a radio station’s music output must be Hungarian; more than half of a television channel’s airtime must be of European origin, and more than a third of Hungarian origin (for public service broadcasters these proportions are 60% and 50% respectively). The annual average for crime-related news reporting must not exceed 20%.

We are in complete agreement with these measures.

The above extracts from the legislation are in complete accord with the fundamental principles of Islam, and so we, as a ‘minority faith in Hungary with historic roots’ can only support them!

God bless Muslims and the Republic Hungary!


Zoltán Bolek

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