Adolescent Victoria

Francisco Zingerle, an employee of the Austrian weekly magazine, was on fire in the Hungarian public media because of questions sent to Fidesz. The case reached the highest level of politics, and the Austrian foreign minister telephoned his Hungarian counterpart, Patter Sijjard. In an interview with, the editor-in-chief of the profile, Christian Rainer, had the opportunity to explain why it is important for them to stand out in public, what he thought of Hungarian press freedom, and what he would ask Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Yesterday Published in his opinion paper Wrote that the attack on the profile in the Hungarian public media is exemplary: the attack of an authoritarian regime on press freedom, and thus Western values. What was your first reaction when asked what happened?

Christian Rainer: Looking at the report, we definitely switched to higher speeds and then did not slow down. I believe what happened was not only a threat to one of my journalists, but also an attack on press freedom in general. Hungary is very close to our hearts, but we see a decline in press freedom in Eastern Europe, and especially in our neighborhood – especially me, where I can see the Hungarian border from my apartment. Public media coverage also caused a stir in Austrian politics, with Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Challenger inviting you. What are you talking about?

CR: It was a formal phone call, but he said it was Calls his Hungarian counterpart, Péter Szijjártó, and said he would contact the ambassador in Budapest on the matter. With the exception of the Freedom Party, all other Austrian parties acted swiftly on the press. In your memory, has anything like this ever happened in profile history?

CR: We are journalists, there will always be those who try to limit what we do, but I do not remember a similar situation from the last decade. It’s obviously gone a long way now, and what happened is completely unbearable. We try to keep ourselves away from emotions, but we take press freedom very seriously because it is our job. Revelation is important to us because we believe that the Austrian government, especially President Sebastian Kurs, has not clarified its position on Victor Orban in recent years. When we asked about press freedom a year ago, he said he didn’t have time for it – which is unacceptable. We feel that the position of the Austrian government like Hungary or Poland is not as important as expected.

© Looking at Austria, how would you rate Hungarian press freedom?

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CR: We follow the progress very closely, there is no press freedom in Hungary. There are very few independent newspaper products – especially on the Internet – that reach the general public. Still, some of you are brave and capable enough to find a way to publish independent news. Unfortunately, this is a dangerous trend that is spreading across Europe and may sound more and more. In Slovenia, Victor Orban’s ally in Slovakia, even in the Czech Republic where a journalist was murdered, it is not difficult to find a connection between them. But we see similar changes in other parts of the world, think about the presidency of the United States and Donald Trump. They enjoy it Restrictions on the Press in Austria?

CR: They have control over the best ways, so they are even more dangerous. The method is not a limit, but a lot of money and exclusive interviews for those who guarantee positive titles and beautiful pictures. Returning to Report: Did you try to contact the Hungarian public media after the event?

CR: I do not think this is necessary, our questions were to Fidesz, not to Hungarian television, although it is clear that they received the letter from the party, which was used in the statement. So I don’t think we should have reacted beyond writing about this. How can press freedom be protected in such circumstances?

CR: What we can really do is rely on ourselves and our readers, informing them and putting public pressure that press associations can help. It may not be worth much in the short term, but sooner or later the Hungarian public will see how important press freedom is. The press is indeed the fourth branch of power in a democracy. After what happened, what would you ask Victor Orban if you were given the opportunity in an interview?

CR: Considering his political past and his changes, I would ask him if he is not ashamed of the way he values ​​the values ​​of democracy and freedom today.

Christian Rainer graduated from the University of Law in Vienna in 1987 and later began working as a business journalist. He was first a columnist and later co-editor of the Austrian daily AZ and later the editor-in-chief of the Austrian business weekly Weirdshaftswatch. From 1997 to 2008, he was the editor-in-chief of the monthly magazine Trent, and from 1998 he also headed the weekly profile. Since 2019, he has been President of the European Business Publishing (EPP), a consortium of 31 business publications from 22 countries.
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