A few days ago, controversial Fidesz publicist Zsolt Bayer told Hungarian daily newspaper Népszabadság he did not understand what all the fuss over his Knight’s Cross award was about. But after scores of Hungarian notables returned their awards, Bayer has now vowed to stop writing op-ed pieces featuring vitriolic personal attacks and obscenities.
In a lengthy interview given to Hungarian news portal Mandiner.hu, the publicist said he was honored by the medal and wanted to live up to the ideas it represented.
But when Mandiner.hu correspondent András Stumpf asked Bayer why his writings featured personal attacks on people, he replied:
“You are completely right. I am making a large, solemn vow right here and now under the influence of the awards and such. I will try to rise to the task. I am finished with the kind of publicizing to which you refer.”
Among the dozens of notable Hungarians returning their Order of Merit are András Heisler, the president of Hungary’s Alliance of Jewish Religious Organizations; Jenő Kaltenbach, former parliamentary commissioner for the rights of national and ethnic minorities; jazz guitarist Ferenc Snétberger; award-winning film director Bence Fliegauf; and Miklós Haraszti, one of the founders of the Hungarian Democratic Opposition Movement who was Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Representative on Freedom of the Media from 2004 to 2010.
Despite his pledge, Bayer vowed not to give back his Knight’s Cross and he has not been ordered to do so by members of the government either.
At his weekly press conference on Thursday, Minister Overseeing the Prime Minister’s Office János Lázár told journalists there are achievements of Bayer’s that cannot be called into question, such as the series entitled “1,100 years in the Middle of Europe” associated with him.
“Naturally, in many respects I do not agree with his forthright journalistic activities, but this does not take away from the value of the achievements which Zsolt Bayer can claim, whether with his film series, his books or his staunch support of the Hungarian community in the Carpathian Basin,” Lázár said, adding that the granting of the award was not initiated by the government; the government had accepted the relevant civic recommendation.
(Which turns out to have been a hoax, just like everything else the Orbán government does!-ed.)
The office of Hungarian President Áder János who initiated Bayer’s award told news portal hvg.hu that according to law, such awards cannot be rescinded.