The Spanish socialist newspaper El País has the ugly habit of launching campaigns against certain countries (Israel, Poland, Hungary), using lies to denigrate the political positions that it does not like.
The newspaper does not give the right to reply to Poland or Hungary but to Venezuela
Last year I already denounced that El País assumed the lies created by the Stalinist propaganda to discredit Poland in an article published on March 1, 2017. After that cascade of slanders, the Polish Ambassador to Spain, Marzenna Adamczyk, sent a letter to El País that the newspaper did not want to publish (you can read it here). In the same line, on May 1, 2017 El País published an editorial asking Europe to act against Viktor Orbán, president of Hungary. False accusations against Orbán were launched in the text, such as that he makes “racist statements”. The Ambassador of Hungary in Spain asked El País several times to publish a reply, without success; finally it was published by La Tribuna del País Vasco.
On the contrary, on May 1, 2018 El País did agree to publish a cynical article by Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro, in which he presented his regime – which systematically violates human rights – as an authentic democracy. To put it another way: for El País a socialist dictatorship has the right of reply, but democratic countries with conservative governments, such as Poland and Hungary, lack that right.
El País censors again a replica from the Embassy of Hungary in Spain
Once again history has repeated. On September 1, El País published an opinion piece entitled “Lines in the sand”, in which its author, Máriam Martínez-Bascuñán, the opinion editor of that newspaper, not only accused Orbán of being a racist, but also placed him between “the gerfalcon of the European Ku Klux Klan” and among the “protofascists without a mask” (new error of Bascuñán: to be “protofascist”, Orbán would have had to dedicate to politics before the appearance of Italian fascism in 1919, and to my knowledge the Hungarian president is not so old). On September 7, the Hungarian Ambassador to Spain, Enikő Győri, sent a reply letter to El País. To this day, the newspaper of the PRISA Group has not yet published it, and it does not seem that it intends to publish it – since the letter dismantles the lies of El País about Orbán, leaving the newspaper in evidence – so I have decided to publish it in Counting Stars. I indicate in bold the most relevant parts:
In my activity as an ambassador for the last four years, I have grown accustomed to the fact that certain highly prestigious media, among them El País, often call strong, often outrageous, adjectives to the Prime Minister, the Hungarian government and sometimes general to Hungary or the Hungarian people.
However, despite my experience to date, I read with a mixture of stupor and sadness the latest publication of the new director at the head of Opinion El País, Máriam Martínez-Bascuñán (Lines in the arena of September 1, 2018). I find it amazing that on heads of government of democratically elected EU member states and despite the difference of political opinion, a string of offensive labels is poured into three paragraphs, presenting them as a kind of “Ku-Klux-Klan gerfalcons” European, grandiloquent megalomaniacs, opportunists, anti-Europeanists, who extol a white supremacism, racists, proto-fascists, satraps cultivators of self-satisfaction and new populists,” completely ignoring the facts and argumentation. I find it striking that she is gaining ground in the columns of her newspaper through the article by the author, who has a background in political science, the offense of the memory of the real victims of European fascism or the American Ku-Klux-Klan, thus relativizing such dramatic epochs of history.
However, it seems that when speaking of Hungary, the adjectives of dishonor and unfounded assertions not only appear in the Opinions section but in other sections of your newspaper. The author of the article praising Ivan Fischer, world famous conductor, and his Budapest Festival Orchestra, about the concert held in the city of San Sebastián (Iván Ficher, a musician without borders, August 28, 2018), takes advantage of the subject to criticize the Hungarian government. I consider it very serious that due to the fact that the director in the first part of the concert brought some popular Gypsy musicians with them, thus paying tribute to the really important relationship between gypsy and classical music, the author of the article interpreted that the artist He wants to draw attention to the “ultranationalist” policy (a particular qualification, although very popular in the columns of his newspaper) of the Hungarian head of government, who waged a so-called “crusade” against minorities of gypsies and Jews.
Summing up my impressions regarding two articles, I consider it offensive to the Hungarian people, who in the 20th century suffered so much from fascist and communist dictatorships, that they present it as a country where they choose “a megalomaniac proto-fascist tyrant” as leader (who thus becomes in the imaginary leader of the European Ku-Klux-Klan) and where a so-called crusade is waged against certain ethnic / religious national groups.
For my part, I am always convinced that it is worthwhile to strive to engage in a dialogue based on the facts. In this sense, allow me to share with you some points of view in relation to all of the above.
Hungary makes tremendous efforts to combat racism, anti-Gypsy movements and any incitement to hatred. Anti-Gypsy movements and hate crimes are rooted in prejudices and stereotypes, and most of them occur at the local level. The Hungarian Government is dedicated to the social inclusion of gypsies. These intentions are also demonstrated by the fact that the current government party (FIDESZ) was the first to assign a Gypsy woman to the European Parliament, Lívia Járóka, who is currently the Vice President of the organization.
The Hungarian Government is deeply committed and has taken substantial steps, even before the recommendations of the Council of Europe, to achieve the integration of the Gypsy population. To mention an example, the Government adopted a Labor Protection Action Plan to encourage the employment of disadvantaged employees and the long-term unemployed (including Gypsies). Also, Hungary was the country that put this issue on the EU’s political agenda during its EU Presidency in 2011.
Anti-Semitic demonstrations, both in public and in politics, are totally marginalized. The Hungarian Government has repeatedly declared a “zero tolerance policy” against anti-Semitism and any such incident has been immediately sanctioned by severe sentences. The leaders of the local Jewish community repeatedly confirmed that Jewish life in Hungary is experiencing a renaissance. The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was the first foreign leader to congratulate Viktor Orbán on his re-election and affirmed that “Budapest is at the forefront of the states that oppose anti-Jewish policy.”
To conclude, let me express my conviction that within Europe dialogue is necessary and hanging labels on those who represent a contrary opinion prevents dialogue. For my part, in spite of the fact that previously your newspaper flatly refused to publish certain reactions on the part of our embassy about publications of your newspaper related to Hungary, I would like to insist that you publish this letter. And as always, I am willing to enter into a dialogue within the framework of a personal meeting with the renewed leadership of El País, on the challenges facing the EU and on the management of the problems that undoubtedly exist at the European.
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