TV crew ejected from public Fidesz campaign event

March 26, 2018

Fidesz candidate threw out TV crew from open campaign event
László Tasó at a grand gathering in Nyíracsád on March 25, 2018 | Photo: Facebook/@tasolaszlokepviselo

Undersecretary with the Prime Minister’s Office and Fidesz’s candidate in the 3rd electoral district of Hajdú-Bihar county László Tasó threw the crew of Hír TV out of his campaign event with his own hands, reports Hír TV.

On Sunday, Tasó, who recently made news when he campaigned with “government provided” food packages that were in fact 100 percent EU-funded, held a “grand gathering” in the Hajdú-Bihar county village of Nyíracsád. By Hungarian law, such events are open to the public, including the press, and no one can be legally barred from entering campaign events. Although the public invitation for the event did not state that the gathering would be closed, the crew of Hír TV was thrown out by security guards and Tasó himself.

Upon entering the Nyíracsád community hall, the TV crew was told by one of Tasó’s employees to leave, arguing that the event was not open to the press. After the reporter insisted that by law he had a right to stay, security guards appeared and confronted the TV crew. At this point, the Hír TV reporter called the police. However, the officers who arrived did little to enforce the law and sided with the organizers, even though the Hír TV reporter had the invitation leaflet with him that clearly stated the event was public.

Soon after, Tasó himself arrived at the community hall and immediately confronted the TV crew:

Tasó: Which TV? 

Hír TV: Hír TV. 

Tasó: Who invited you? [Show me your] invitation!

Then, a visibly infuriated Tasó ordered the security guards to remove the TV crew. While one of the guards took out the camera, Tasó got hold of the rest of the TV equipment and took it outside. The two police officers did not intervene.

According to Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (TASZ) legal associate Attila Szabó the election law clearly states that campaign gatherings are open to the public, which increasingly pertains to the press. A similar conduct towards press workers constitutes a limitation of the freedom of the press even outside of a campaign period, Szabó added.

Monday morning, Tasó commented on the incident in a Facebook post. According to him “paid provocateurs posing as Hír TV reporters obstructed the privacy rights (sic!) of the people of Nyíracsád who are known to be religious.” Tasó also states that the event was invitation-only and that all invitations had been delivered personally. However, an image which was posted on Facebook on March 23 and publicizes Tasó’s grand gatherings, nowhere states that the events would be invitation-only.

Hír TV filed a complaint with the Hajdúhadház police headquarters.