Video Disinformation from the Hungarian Government

Thrasymachus, a regular reader and commenter here at Gates of Vienna, sends this brief report of a video-based hoax perpetrated by the Hungarian government to discredit the increasingly popular right-wing nationalist movement. He says, “This article documents how the Hungarian government had tried to use the National Bureau of Investigation to whip up false fears about dangerous Ultra-right extremists — again”:

Justice Ministry issues apology over bogus “terror” video

The Justice and Law Enforcement Ministry apologises for erroneously claiming that a video recording showed a test detonation by far-right terrorists, the government spokesman’s office announced after the ministry briefed Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai on the footage on Friday.

The film in fact depicted a test explosion in a field near Bonyhád, south Hungary in 2007, which was carried out by five chemistry students who later received suspended sentences.

National Bureau of Investigation head Attila Petofi offered his resignation for having asserted that the footage, which was found on the server of the Hungarian Arrows, was of a test carried out by the extreme nationalist group.

Justice and Law Enforcement Minister Tibor Draskovics declined Petofi’s offer to resign, but cautioned him and a deputy for failing to provide accurate information.

Government spokeswoman Bernadett Budai said Bajnai’s confidence in Draskovics is unwavering.

Fidesz MP Zoltán Balog told reporters in Budapest on Sunday that “everyone who took part in fabricating evidence, gave orders, or knew about the case, is now unfit and unworthy of running the country, and should leave public life.”

Thrasymachus fills in some background on the case:
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Two weeks ago, with a great fanfare, the Hungarian Justice and Law Enforcement Minister Tibor Draskovics presented a video to the press which purported to show a raid on a far-right bomb factory and a video of the alleged bombers testing their explosives.

The video was then extensively used internationally, to try to smear by association Jobbik, the nationalist Movement for a Better Hungary (the most potent electoral threat to the incumbent MSZP): presenting the idea of there being “a real and present danger” of purported extremist violence.

However, the Hungarian press slowly realized that this explosion had an uncanny similarity to a video of an explosion made by some chemistry students 2 years earlier.

Here’s an English language version of how the story started. The Prime Minister then came out in support.

But as you can see it has, blown up in their faces.

Resignations have been offered for this “accidental” attempt to fool the national and international public: but of course no resignations have been accepted…

3 thoughts on “Video Disinformation from the Hungarian Government

  1. Thrasymachus, the Baron brought my attention to your comment on another thread about sourcing material for Hungarian Politics and I have been seeking to add more diverse sources (beyond and Hungarian Spectrum) since.

    This article by John Horvath published at Telepolis appears to be more balanced in it’s presentation of recent political shifts:

    Far Right Rising in Hungary dated 8/3/2009

  2. Heroyalwhyness, thank you for that. It is EXACTLY the kind of level headed article we could do with having a lot more of.
    However, given that the state (and by extension the Socialist MSZP) have an essential stranglehold on English language information coming out of the country; we’re unlikely to see any more articels like that any time soon.
    Another very good piece, is this one, which is perhaps the only piece of really constructive (non scare mongering) journalism on the Hungarian Roma issue.

  3. Well, being from the region, I can give my (biased) opinion.
    This group is really dangerous.
    For example it looks to foment ethnic unrest in Transylvania and Slovakia, both regions with Hungarian minorities, which were occupied by the Austro-Hungarian Empire until 1918.
    The fact that they are anti-communists, does not mitigate the rabid Hungarian nationalism they espouse.

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