Richard Field’s letter to Hungarian international spokesman Zoltán Kovács

May 4, 2015

zoltankovacs-749x415May 4th, 2015

Mr. Zoltán Kovács
International spokesman

Dear Mr. Kovács:

I am writing here in response to your official statement of April 30th in which you claim:

This is not the first time in the history of (the Guardian) that it has levelled false accusations of extremism and discrimination against the Hungarian government: it has already done so in the context of the events that took place near the village of Gyöngyöspata and also in relation to the public works scheme.

Whatever the merits of the Guardian’s coverage of recent comments by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán about immigration and the death penalty or Hungary’s wasteful and counter-productive public works scheme, it is not true, as you suggest, that the Guardian’s coverage of the events in Gyöngyöspata was inaccurate.

With the exception of one or two minor factual mistakes (perfectly understandable given the complexity of the situation), the Guardian’s article of January 27th, 2012 entitled “Hungary Roma Living in Fear” was an accurate depiction of life in Gyöngyöspata at that time under Jobbik mayor Oszkár Juhász, and the events of March and April of 2011 preceding his election.

What the article neglected to mention was that the director of the segregated school in question, Károly Molnár, was known to harbor strong anti-Romani prejudice, and that teachers not sharing his views on Romani children and segregation had either been forced to retire or seek employment elsewhere.

Sincerely yours,

Richard Field
The Budapest Beacon