Extremist decorated, recipients reject awards in protest


wikimedia commons / andor elekes

As of today, a running roll-call on Index.hu shows that 69 Hungarians awarded the Knight始s Cross of the Order of Merit, a recognition bestowed by the government, have returned their awards in protest after Zsolt Bayer (pictured), a pro-government journalist known for his extreme opinion pieces, received the accolade on August 20.

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Andor Elekes)

Bayer, whose strident opinion pieces have incurred a number of fines for the newspapers to which he contributes, has repeatedly propagated anti-Semitic, anti-Roma and anti-Muslim views. Hungarians awarded the same accolade have been returning their Knight始s Crosses to President J谩nos 脕der as a way of showing their disagreement with Bayer being awarded such a high honor, as well as to indicate their desire not to appear on the official list of recipients together with him.

However, online news portal Index.hu noted that although many recipients had decided to return their awards (57 at time of writing), no actual legal basis exists for them to do so, adding that under the law the accolades cannot be withdrawn or returned. In this way, the portal noted, the protesting recipients始 gesture is only symbolic, and their names will remain on the list of recipients of the Knight始s Cross alongside Bayer.

Despite the wave of protest, the Hungarian government has unequivocally defended Bayer鈥檚 award. The Prime Minister鈥檚 Office, headed by Minister J谩nos L谩z谩r, sent a statement yesterday to online news daily hvg.hu, saying that Bayer was awarded with the honor for his work in uncovering and representing several Hungarian national issues and interests, as well as for the portrayal of Hungarians in Transylvania and convicts in gulags.

As reported by hvg.hu yesterday, L谩z谩r told Hungarian commercial TV channel RTL Klub that 鈥渘aturally everybody鈥檚 career can be criticized and obviously mistakes can occur,鈥 but that Bayer鈥檚 career so far contains more that is worthy of recognition than mistakes.

Bayer始s writing has nevertheless shocked on many occasions for an aggressive tone and use of profanity hitherto little seen in the Hungarian press. In one article in Magyar Nemzet Online in 2006, Bayer suggested: "Anyone in this country who runs over a Gypsy child will be doing the right thing if they do not even think of stopping. When running over a Gypsy child, we should put our foot on the gas." Another article for Magyar H铆rlap in 2013, in which he described Roma as "animals" unfit for cohabiting in human society, incurred the newspaper a fine of HUF 250,000.

More recently, in November 2015, Bayer suggested that every migrant over the age of 14 is a potential murderer - incurring another fine for Magyar H铆rlap of hUF 250,000 for incitement to hatred.

On August 1 this year, in response to a statement from Pope Francis that there are followers of all religions who espouse violence and that it is an error to single out Islam, Bayer wrote: "The Pope is either a demented old man entirely unfit to fill the papal post, or a scoundrel."


OECD Forecasts GDP Contraction for Hungary in 2023, Rebound ... Analysis

OECD Forecasts GDP Contraction for Hungary in 2023, Rebound ...

Sport Now 'Strategic Sector' for Hungary - Minister Government

Sport Now 'Strategic Sector' for Hungary - Minister

Passenger Rail Linking Szeged, Subotica Restarts After 8 Yea... Transport

Passenger Rail Linking Szeged, Subotica Restarts After 8 Yea...

More Guest Nights y.o.y. for Year-end Tourism

More Guest Nights y.o.y. for Year-end


Producing journalism that is worthy of the name is a costly business. For 27 years, the publishers, editors and reporters of the Budapest Business Journal have striven to bring you business news that works, information that you can trust, that is factual, accurate and presented without fear or favor.
Newspaper organizations across the globe have struggled to find a business model that allows them to continue to excel, without compromising their ability to perform. Most recently, some have experimented with the idea of involving their most important stakeholders, their readers.
We would like to offer that same opportunity to our readers. We would like to invite you to help us deliver the quality business journalism you require. Hit our Support the BBJ button and you can choose the how much and how often you send us your contributions.