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The Hungarian minority media in Romania István Gergő Székely.

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1 The Hungarian minority media in Romania István Gergő Székely

2 Overview Hungarian minority in Romania: integral society, encompassing all social strata. Not significantly assimilated  do not use majority language in everyday communication and in mass media consumption. (Magyari, 2003a) too wide-ranged to be considered a typical minority media, but too minoritarian to qualify as a fully-fledged media system (Magyari, 2003b) too dispersed, displaying considerable regional differences – not a segment for media marketing, unfavorable for advertising (Magyari, 2003b)

3 Incomplete media system TV –No “public TV“ station (a station which could be received on the whole territory of Transylvania) – only plans for one – one visible consequence: the lack of Hungarian media stars –Romanian public TV allocates insufficient broadcasting time in Hungarian language: nationwide networks: total of 6.5 hours of Hungarian program per week – 0.97% of total broadcasting time –Regional studios: Cluj/Kolozsvár: twice a week, a total of 2.5 hours a week; Timişoara/Temesvár: half an hour once a week. –private stations in cities where Hungarians form a majoritary, where minoritarian, private stations usually feature a few hours of program in Hungarian –most popular: Hungarian commercial channels (where available), Duna TV, Romanian commercial channels Radio: –No Hungarian program on any of the 4 central public radio stations –But: cosiderable broadcasting time for regional studios: Cluj/Kolozsvár, Târgu Mureş/Marosvásárhely: 4-6 hours daily, Timişoara/Temesvár: 1 hour daily; other regional studios: insignificant (max. 1 hour/week) –private stations: the same situation as with private TV stations Web: 3 more important news portals + regional/local portals

4 Incomplete media system: the written press 2 “national” dailies, 3 “national” weeklies: the most characteristic media consumption behavior is the reading of local/regional dailies/weeklies: (around 15 regional newspapers): about 67% of the audience read these (too) (Magyari, 2003b) relative lack of tabloid press and magazines reasons: –lack of tradition: Hungarians in Transylvania torn off the Hungarian press system before the dawn of tabloid press –lack of resources: tabloid press more expensive than simple dailies –accommercial attitude of the operators: between the two world wars not the economic but the literaray elite ran most publications –elitism of Hungarian journalists: tabloid = low culture, Balkanic character (Magyari, 2003b) consequences: –gap on the market: filled partly by the dailies – but their content doesn’t match the needs of the tabloid readers, so they don’t buy regularly: e.g. only once a week, for the TV schedule; or for sports news etc. – situational nonhabitual readers (Magyari 2003b) –publications from Hungary very popular and also publications in Romanian for those who speak the language well (and consequenlty would be serious competitors; hard to decide whether reason or consequence)

5 Features of Hungarian journalism in Romania (Papp, 2006; Magyari, 2003a) intellectualization of the field: reluctant to write about the experiences of other social strata literaturization: emphasis on the philological quality of the articles, less on content and appropiate sources. Most of them are primarily interested in culture, second option: domestic politics. Sports, entertainment, foreign policy relatively neglected. elitism: tendency to think about the audience as an elite community the press is rarely entertaining, consequently its audience is limited lack of business orientation: works more like nonprofit NGOs than like economic enterprises. Yet, most regional publicatons still profitable mission of the minority journalist: the idea of serving the community media consumption of journalists: similar to the habits of the audience: barely read Romanian newspapers, journalists from regional papers are even reluctant to read the “national” publications

6 Politicization of the press most of the regional newspapers are the successors of the former communist party papers. affirmative or approving discourse of the Hungarian press: uncritical towards the leaders of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (DAHR) (Magyari, 2003a) especially after 1999-2000 the cleavages from Hungary appear in Transylvania too: supporters of DAHR, Béla Markó and closer to the left-liberal parties in Hungary vs. supporters of László Tőkés and the (inner) opposition of the DAHR, closer to FIDESZ – dualistic character of the press Yet: the relatively low number of publications critical of the DAHR reinforces the “one-party system”

7 Politicization of the press (cont’d.) extramedial attachments: 55% of journalists member of DAHR, 62% member of some NGO. Age is positively related to both kinds of membership. Usually those in a leading position at the newspaper tend to be in leading positions in NGOs too – aggregation of functions is characteristic of Hungarian intellectuals – belief that journalism is a mission rather than a job. (Papp, 2006) Taboos: 1. the DAHR; 2. the churches. Some journalists deny the existence of taboos: especially the older generation, those involved in politics. (Papp, 2006) relative lack of left-wing values (Papp, 2006) funds: financial sources from both Romania and Hungary are in fact distributed by the DAHR politicians often also serve as sources (Magyari, 2003a)

8 Minority neurosis journalist or media neither chauvinistic nor xenophobic However: on average, journalists would exclude members of the majority group from their private sphere Roma3.57 Bantu2.81 Romanians2.14 Jews2.06 Germans1.93 Hungarians1.08 The values of the table represent averages of 6 point Bogardus scales: 1 – accept as spouse 2 – accept as guest in own apartment 3 – accept as neighbor 4 – accept to live in the locality 5 – accept to visit the locality 6 – would not accept at all (Papp, 2006)

9 Minority neurosis (cont’d) especially in the early ’90s, strongly defensive tone as a reaction to the nationalism of the majority minority effect: also influences content: Hungarian minority media deals primarily with ethnic Hungarians and their affairs. Natural thing, as this group is similar to the journalists. But sometimes it may also result in neglecting certain issues and overweighing others. (Papp, 2005) occasional articles hint at Hungarian superiority (Magyari, 2003a) use of ethnic stereotypes – us and them mobilizing, propagating, partisan tone: “our leaders”, “our party” etc. The issue on which the minority press occupies a really genuine position: Hungarian-Hungarian relations (right-wing press in Hungary resembles most. Mainstream of minority publications more moderate) some people find the Hungarian press to be complaining, lamenting, sometimes excessively emphasizing its Hungarian nature (nationalistic) and think that they survive only because of lack of competition symbols sometimes more important than social facts (Papp, 2005) the charge of high treason (esp. on the more radical side, after the 2004 referendum on dual citizenship, but also for DAHR politicians for abandoning the idea of autonomy)

10 Case study: Medgyessy-Năstase summit on 1 st of December 2002 1 st of December: national holiday in Romania: in 1918 National Assembly at Alba Iulia proclaimed the union of Transylvania and Romania For Hungarians “not a joyful day” (Béla Markó, 12 th of December, 2002) Poitical context: Romania (and Slovakia) strongly oppose the application of the Hungarian status law and demand amendment Adrian Năstase and Péter Medgyessy meet at a reception at Hotel Kempinski in Budapest and clink glasses Protests on Erzsébet square: Right-wing organizations demand the resignation of the government because the PM has bertrayed the nation, shouting “Down with Trianon!”

11 Case study 1: the reaction of the press - Hungary Magyar Nemzet (conservative, right-wing) –“Mediaseanu celebrates” – “the Hungarian PM whose code-name is Péter Medgyessy…” –“Romanian feast in Budapest”; –“The PM caused scandal” – a shame and the humiliation of the Hungarian nation –“perhaps Romanian ministry of foreign affairs bought the hotel in the meanwhile without our knowledge ” – commenting the fact that the reception had been announced to take place at Romanian embassy in Bp. –“even geographically beyond the idea of ‘from the Dniester to the Tisza’” Népszabadság (left-liberal): –Hungarian government can feel eased, because Romania will not reject the status law unconditionally –Medgyessy “crossed the Rubicon” of doing such a gesture –It would have been rude to reject the invitation. However, the same article aknowledges that no one can expect that “sound of mind Hungarians” could rejoice over the 1 st of December 1918.

12 Case study 1: The reaction of the press - Romania Adevărul: –before the event: suggesting that the Romanian PM should celebrate in Romania; imagine what would happen if G.W.Bush wouldn’t spend the 4 th of July in the U.S. –“Highway of Friendship”: “Unprecedented event”; yet, “the Earth didn’t crack under our feet” – although seemed political suicide, the gesture is “a first signal towards the future”, which catches the wind out of the sails of the extremists on both sides. –It is interesting to note that both Magyar Nemzet and Népszabadság cite a sentence from this article, but totally out of context: Năstase “commited treason, that even the darkest nationalist scripts wouldn’t have imagined.” The original article sarcastically starts with this sentence… Adevărul de Cluj: –“Romania and Hungary should forget the injuries from the past” Evenimentul Zilei: –less emphasis on the content of the summit, more attention on the protests againts it. Objective, one article even makes the claim that the public opinion in Hungary doesn’t agree with the attitude of the protestors, rather it condemns it. –A couple of weeks later: “Hungarian extremist” protested once again. This time the paper warns that such demonstrations are detrimental to the international image of Hungary and can threaten the stability of Central Europe. Ziua: –Hungarian officials think that Romania annexed Transylvania. Otherwise the paper devoted relatively little space to the journey of Năstase to Bp., they rather cover celebrations in Romania

13 Case study 1: Reaction of Hungarian press in Romania Both “national” dailies rather focus on the content of the meeting and report about the protests without commenting Column in Krónika: contrasts the Budapest events with an incident in Sfântu Gheorghe/Sepsiszentgyörgy, where the Hungarian mayor was reluctant to display “sufficient” Romanian flags on the national holiday. The columnist writes that “something happened in Budapest. The two PMs took the risks, and the event is a sign that one need not necessarily approach the national holiday of the other group with passionate anger.” The conclusion is that the mentioned mayor is still far from understanding this. The event was relatively neglected in the regional press: mostly only news- agency material featured, without commentary. Some newspapers (but most importantly the Internet portals) take over articles from Hungary Radical press (Erdélyi napló): similar rethoric to Magyar Nemzet: –“obsequious Hungarian foreign policy” –“what would happen to a Romanain PM if he would celebrate with his Russian collegue the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact (by which Russia gained Bessarabia)” –The next step would be for the Hungarian government to celebrate the anniversary of the Mohács battle with ‘some Suleyman’” –“Romanian feast in Budapest” - emphasis on “police violence” against protestors

14 Case study 1: Conclusion The press in Hungary displayed the strongest differences The most radical positions came from Hungary too, but Transylvanian publications borrow these articles and some publications also match the style in their own articles Romanian press generally moderate Generally speaking, the Hungarian media in Romania treats the events soberly, without playing the nationalist card Nevertheless: the polarization from Hungary is also displayed in Transylvanian publications

15 Case study 2: draft report on accession of Romania to the EU The foreign affairs committee of the EP discusses the draft report on accession of Romania by Pierre Moscovici. The document is important because it is the last report before the accession. –The report n –The report notes that substantial progress has been made in the reform of the justice system, the fight against corruption etc., but further progress is needed in the fields of child protection, integration of minorities, in particular the Roma and Hungarian minorities, and the treatment of the mentally handicapped; – –3 areas still unsatisfactory: reform of the justice system and the fight against organised crime and corruption; absorption of Union aid in the agricultural sector; application of the acquis communautaire in certain areas of food safety. The first should be “the focus of special attention from the Romanian authorities”. It is obvious, that Romania still has a lot of work to do. Yet, the minority press focuses almost exclusively on the issue of the Hungarian minority

16 Case study 2: draft report on accession of Romania to the EU Krónika, Szabadság: briefly review the report, then deal in more detail with the amendments handed in by Hungarian MEPs ÚMSZ reports on the 14 th of November that the Hungarian Human Rights Foundation urges the MEPs to take into consideration the rights of the Hungarian Minority and draws attention to the amendments. The document is reviewed more thoroughly only on the next day. (15 th of November), and is the only to mention other amendments (esp. reagrding the access of Romanian citizens on the labor merket) Bihari Napló (regional daily): two interviews: 1. with Kinga Gál, member of FIDESZ and MEP, 2. with DAHR observer in EP. Both exclusively about the issue of minorities Adevărul: the Foreign Affairs Committee has “harshly amended” the Moscovici report which was favorable to Romania. The paper stresses that most of the amendments have been formulated by Kinga Gál, “a constant critique of Romania.” Two more amendments are referred to, but in much less detail: one by the Greens about Roşia Montana and one about lustration of future Romanian MEPs. Gândul: only this last amendment is mentioned România Liberă: short news: most of the amendments were favorable, those whch formulated criticism came from the Hungarian MEPs.

17 Bibliography Magyari Tivadar. 2003a. Hungarian Minority Media in Romania: Toward a Policy of Professional Improvement. In: Sükösd Miklós – Bajomi-Lázár Péter (szerk.) 2003 Media Policy Reform in East-Central Europe. Budapest, CEU Press. 185-202. Magyari Tivadar. 2003b. Elemzések a romániai magyarok sajtóolvasási szokásairól [Analyses about the Press Reading Habits of Hungarians in Romania]. In: Erdélyi Társadalom. Vol. I., No. 1. 113-131. Papp Z. Attila. 2005. The Hungarian Press System in Romania During the Nineties: The World of the Operators. Regio, Volume 8. pp. 141-153. Papp Z. Attila. 2006. Keretizmus. A romániai magyar sajtó és működtetői 1989 után [Framism. The Hungarian Press System in Romania and its Operators after 1989]. Csíkszereda, Soros Oktatási Központ. HTMH Observer 2002/46 & 2002/47 (

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