Magyar Idők: government to tax “migration-advocacy NGOs”

January 17, 2018

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An anti-Soros poster is seen in Budapest, Hungary, on October 1, 2017. | Photo: Ákos Stiller

The government is preparing an “anti-Soros bill” that would include the revocation of the tax-exempt status of “migration-advocacy NGOs”, reports government mouthpiece Magyar Idők.

In the Wednesday morning article titled “Billionaire George Soros might be banned from Hungary”, the pro-government print daily cites anonymous government sources in support of its claim that, as part of the “anti-Soros action plan”, the government would register “migration-advocacy NGOs” and strip them of their non-profit status. In addition, the government would charge such NGOs a “migration organizer fee.”

The government broadsheet also claims the government is discussing a proposal to ban the Open Society Foundations’ Soros from Hungary. On Tuesday, the government propaganda online daily Origo hinted that the government was about to discuss the possibility of barring the Hungarian-American financier-philanthropist from the country.

Rumors that the government was considering the ban started circulating in May 2017. However, they were dismissed as hearsay by Minister of Interior Sándor Pintér on the grounds that “banning Mr. Soros from Hungary is impossible based on the Fundamental Law [Hungary’s constitution-ed.]. [Soros] is a Hungarian citizen. Hungarian citizens cannot be banned from Hungary.”

By leaking such sensationalist information, however, the government forces what little remains of Hungary’s independent media to devote precious column inches to refuting such politically motivated claims having no basis in reality.  In this way, the government effectively determines what such media outlets report on as well.