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Government to address immigrants on billboards

In an attempt to raise awareness of the national consultation on immigrants, the Hungarian government will place billboards throughout the country with the message: “If you come to Hungary you cannot take the jobs of Hungarians”, Zoltán Kovács, Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Relations in Hungary, said during a press conference yesterday, German-owned RTL Klub reported.

Although the message is aimed at immigrants, it is written in Hungarian, RTL Klub noted. According to the TV station, the Hungarian government will spend HUF 300 mln on the project. RTL said that Kovács was not available to answer questions following the press conference. According to Fidesz, the majority of Hungarians agree with the billboard statement, RTL added.

In an interview with commercial station ATV, Kovács spoke of two additional billboard messages aimed at immigrants: “If you come to Hungary you have to respect our culture!” and “If you come to Hungary you have to respect our laws and regulations!”

Recently, the Hungarian government has been leaning towards an anti-immigrant stance and went so far as to launch a national consultation on immigrants both in paper and online formats. Critics of the consultation, claim that its leading questions are designed to influence respondents on the issues by misguiding them.

The Hungarian Helsinki Committee said that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán "is confusing immigrants with refugees" and that asylum seekers should not be mistaken for “economic immigrants”. The Hungarian Helsinki Committee is turning to court over a public announcement made by Fidesz entitled “Helsinki Committee should stop lying about immigrants”, and is charging the ruling party of making defamatory comments about them.

recent study by research firm Tárki reveals that 46% of the Hungarian adult population is xenophobic, the highest rate recorded since 1992 when Tárki first began the survey.